Tuesday, April 15, 2014

‘The Sacred Circle: Ancient and Modern’

The Rosicrucian Order has planned a week’s worth of discussion on how we Westerners, and Rosicrucians particularly, divide our time. From the publicity:

The Sacred Circle of the Year:
Ancient and Modern
Monday, April 21 through Friday, April 25
Nightly, from 6:30 to 7:30

Rosicrucian Cultural Center
2303 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard

As this week falls between the Christian celebration of Easter (this time coinciding on the same date for the Eastern and Western churches) and May 1 (May Day), we will explore the inheritances of the calendar we follow today in most of the Western world from the ancient Pre-Christian European Calendar’s Eight-Fold Cycle of the Year, and their parallels. In particular, what is the Rosicrucian approach to these cycles and this inheritance.

Attendees are invited to share their own experiences of the Cycle of the Year during this participatory workshop, and also their own expertise in other yearly cycles from all world cultures.

Since the Rosicrucian Year began on the Spring Equinox (March 20), our journey of exploration will begin with this Festival, and proceed around the Sacred Circle of the Year.

The facilitator of this workshop, Steven A. Armstrong, is a professional historian, philosopher, and teacher based in the San Francisco Bay area. He serves at the Grand Lodge (San Jose) in Membership Services. He is an active member of the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC and the Traditional Martinist Order, and has served as an officer in both.

His current areas of interest include how the Primordial Tradition permeates all world traditions, and the way in which the Rosicrucian and Martinist paths provide a unique and unifying viewpoint on those traditions. Author of more than 30 published papers, articles and podcasts, and a lecturer for the RCUI, he is no stranger to New York City, as he received two of his Master’s Degrees at Fordham University’s Rose Hill Campus.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

‘2014 Alchemy Conference’


The 2014 Northwest Alchemy Conference is scheduled for later this spring—Friday, June 6 through Sunday, June 8—at Venusian Church-Long House, located in Redmond, Washington. Sponsored by the Northwest Chapter of the International Alchemy Guild, the conference will bring to its podium more than a dozen speakers to discuss various esoteric, spiritual, practical, historical, and other insights into Alchemy, that vexing ancestor of chemistry. It is far afield of the Magpie’s usual orbit, but I mention it here because the brilliant, sagacious, and darned handsome Steve Burkle will present “The Practice of Alchemy by the Secret Societies from the Gold und Rosencreutz, to the Golden Dawn, and into Modern Times” on Sunday afternoon. You may know Steve from a variety of print and digital media, and if you know him personally, you realize Alchemy is not a mere curiosity in his life and work. The man knows his business.

Steve Burkle at Rose Circle, 2011.
The other presenters will be great too. Click here to read about them. I’m sure some of those headshots are no cause for alarm whatever!

Makes me wish for a Northeast Conference. The Guild has chapters in Pennsylvania and New York. Maybe some day.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

‘Rosicrucian book sale’

Let’s break out of the New York City area for news from California. On Saturday, a book sale will be hosted at Rosicrucian Park to benefit the Rosicrucian Research Library.

Books on mysticism, art, history, science, and other subjects will be available.

This will take place in front of the Rosicrucian Research Library on Randol Avenue, between Park and Chapman avenues, in San Jose. 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

‘Full Moon Meditation next week’


Full Moon and Autumn Flowers by the Stream, by Ogata Gekko , c.1895.
Color woodblock print at Art Institute of Chicago.

“Sweet Moon, I thank thee for thy sunny beams; 
I thank thee, Moon, for shining now so bright; 
For, by thy gracious, golden, glittering gleams,
 I trust to take of truest Thisby sight.”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

There will be a full moon next Monday—Moon Day—so there will be a Full Moon Meditation at the Rosicrucian Cultural Center that evening. From the publicity:

Join us at the Rosicrucian Cultural Center for our Full Moon Meditation.

April 14 from 8 to 9 p.m.
2303 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard
New York City

The Rosicrucian teachings suggest that each of the celestial bodies, including the moon, has a particular influence on our consciousness.

Each Full Moon we will meet to reflect on this influence and attune our consciousness with it.

Everyone is welcome!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

‘Red King and White Queen’

This just in from the indefatigable Mark Stavish: A daylong program next month at the Institute for Hermetic Studies in Pennsylvania on the practical side of Alchemy, and other topics.

From the publicity:

The Wedding of the Red King and White Queen:
Psychic and Physical Regeneration
in Alchemy and Magic
Planning Your Practice: The One-Year Manual,
The Middle Pillar, and Attaining Illumination

Saturday, May 3
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Unitarian Universalist Congregation
of Wyoming Valley
20 Church Road
(near Francis Slocum State Park)
Wyoming, Pennsylvania
Tuition: $60

The Wedding of the Red King and White Queen:
Psychic and Physical Regeneration
in Alchemy and Magic

This class will examine, in a very concentrated form, the theory and practice of psychic and physical healing, longevity, and rejuvenation in Alchemy, magic, and Rosicrucianism. Practical methods will be given as they have been passed down in both written and oral forms. This class is concerned with operative methods and the theories behind them.

Topics will include:

Spagyrics: Theory of the Ens and Why Even Simple Plant Work Matters

The Philosopher’s Stone and the Elixir or Life: Do They Exist?

Psychic Centers: The Physical Body as Alchemical Laboratory

The Red and White Mercuries as They Relate to Energies of the Physical Body

Is 80 the New 40? The Energetic Body and Turning Back the Clock

Angelic Invocations, Ritual Offerings and the Energies of Renewal

The Importance of Retreat: Why Retreat and Renewal Are Important

Planning Your Practice: The One Year Manual,
The Middle Pillar, and Attaining Illumination

This class will examine the importance of The One Year Manual by Israel Regardie and what it means to both beginning and intermediate students of magic. The methods presented in this classic text on spiritual discipline, training, and development can provide a powerful foundation for any practice regardless of tradition. When combined with the methods of meditation and ritual presented in The Middle Pillar, any student can find a complete and self-sufficient system for personal unfoldment for either solitary or group practice.

References to The Tree of Life – A Study in Magic and Ceremonial Magic by Israel Regardie also will be made, with what is commonly referred to as “The Oath of the Neophyte,” and “The Oath of the Adeptus Exemptus,” and their role in the Path of Return.

Topics will include:

Is it Really Meant to be Done in a Year? How to Proceed at Your Own Pace.

Distilling the Essence – The Art of the Magical Diary and Being Your Own Teacher

The Middle Pillar: Psychic Centers and the Universe Within You

The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram: How to Use It, and Not Abuse It

Year Two: Where To From Here? Solitary Practitioner or Group Member?

Why These Few Books Are All You Will Ever Need

To register and payment information contact: esoteric777(at)aol.com

To ensure a successful program preregistration and payment on your part is encouraged as we reserve the right to cancel without notice.

Mark Stavish, M.A., has more than thirty years of experience in traditional spirituality and is an internationally respected authority in the study and practical application of Alchemy, Qabala, and Astrology. Stavish is the author of four best-selling books on traditional Western esotericism: The Path of Alchemy – Energetic Healing and the World of Natural Magic, Kabbalah for Health and Wellness, Freemasonry – Rituals, Symbols, and History of the Secret Society, and Between the Gates – Lucid Dreaming, Astral Projection and the Body of Light in Western Esotericism.

Mark Stavish
Stavish has published hundreds of articles, book reviews, and interviews on the various traditions of Western esotericism, and has been translated into nine languages; and has been a consultant to print and broadcast media, including documentaries produced by the BBC, A&E, History, and Animal Planet channels. He is the founder of The Institute for Hermetic Studies and The Louis Claude de St. Martin Fund, a non-sectarian, non-profit fund dedicated to advancing the study and practice of Western esotericism.

Stavish’s education includes BA degrees in Theology, and Mass Communications, with a Master’s in Counseling. He comes from a family tradition of German folk magic, and in addition, has been an officer of several organizations focusing on Rosicrucianism, Martinism, and regular Freemasonry, and studied and collaborated extensively with several leading figures in modern esotericism, including Jean Dubuis, Dr. Joseph Lisiewski, Dr. Peter Roche de Coppens, and others.

Friday, April 4, 2014

‘Flashback Friday: Cosmos Becomes Man’

This might as well count for Flashback Friday, as I just realized that I haven’t written about the January 11 lecture at Anthroposophy yet, and tomorrow night is the continuation of that lecture series.

Part three of the lecture series titled “In the Midst of Life: Understanding Death in Our Time.” From the publicity:

Life Against Death
Presented by Eugene Schwartz
Saturday, April 5 at 7 p.m.
Anthroposophy Society
138 West 15th Street

Eugene Schwartz explores Rudolf Steiner’s often surprising and sometimes counterintuitive indications about life after death and the Dead, and how they may help us face the challenges of modern life.

In this lecture: As the proportion of elders grows, issues of aging and dying loom larger. Prolongation of life, even eternal life, is the expressed goal of some technocrats and biologists. The infirmities of extreme old age make grim statistics and cofound hospitals, economists, and politicians. Between Luciferic defiance and Ahrimanic fear, what is the mission of death?

$20 admission for non-members.

Anyway, back to Centerpoint on Saturday, January 11, for “Cosmos Becomes Man,” the second of the four lectures that are Eugene Schwartz’s series based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, founder of the Anthroposophical Society. I missed the first lecture, and, still being unfamiliar with Steiner’s philosophy, I was in for a ride stepping into this lecture cold. The publicity described it thusly: “This lecture will focus on the ‘second half’ of our life after death, beginning with what Rudolf Steiner termed the ‘Midnight Hour’ and ending with our new birth. As we examine this lengthy descent into matter, Steiner grants us insights into such issues as heredity and individuality, love and gender, and karma and human freedom.”
Mr. Eugene Schwartz

I did take brief notes this time, but remember any errors and omissions are attributable to me, and not to Mr. Schwartz. Also, you should know that audio recordings of these talks are being made available online. The first lecture, “Man Becomes Cosmos,” from December 7, is posted, and this second discussion is too. You should listen to those rather than read this, so click here.

Our lecturer began with a quick recap of that first talk, explaining how Steiner taught how human afterlife involved a cosmology that saw a transition of a person’s entire being—the physical, the etheric, the astral, and the ego—into the universe for a period of reflection when the impacts upon others of one’s thoughts, words, and deeds were assessed. Invoking Sartre, Beckett, and Ionesco, he spoke of life in this material world as a place with no exit, a theater of the absurd. “What happens on earth, stays on earth.” But through the use of the techniques of Karma, he explained, we free ourselves from this world. It’s actually something Schwartz attributed to the Jews of antiquity, whose concept and practice of atonement marks the birth of this thinking.

Thus begins existence in the Midnight Hour, the subject of this second talk.

Our spirit, somewhat incarnate in the forms of cherubim and seraphim, are at the most important moment of every human biography—that time when we set about preparing for the eventual return to the physical world, a journey of 500 years. We pass this time giving form to the bodies of those to whom we will be harmonically connected; it is an act that ensures we become social beings, and has the added benefit of resulting in uniquely formed beings (as opposed to a race of nothing but beautiful archetypes, which would happen if everybody could choose their own looks).

This sort of ethereal matchmaking is not a totally unknown concept. Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream also speaks of supernatural beings playing matchmaker, albeit with humorous results, but I digress. So, to make a not very long story short, the 500 years pass, and thus the spirit drops down to the physical world, and just happens to make a right angle as it descends the grades of the arc, depicted in this not very clear photograph I shot of the blackboard:

To hear Mr. Schwartz’s explain this himself, with the added benefit of visual aids, click here.

Lecture four is scheduled for May 24.

Anthroposophy NYC maintains a very active and full calendar of events, and I have to point out that I do not mention all—or even most—of them on the Magpie. For that, please sign up for its newsletter, which comes via e-mail monthly, and its other reminders. Click here.

On Wednesday at 7 p.m., David Anderson will continue his 10-part lecture series “Spiritual Beings and Their Work.”

And I very much look forward to April 17, when Anthroposophy NYC will host its Passover-Easter Presentation titled “The Last Supper Transformed for Our Time,” described thusly:

Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples was a Passover seder, which in Judaism celebrates the Exodus from Egypt. Jesus tells his disciples that the wine shall be His blood, and the unleavened bread His body and, to restore all humanity, the Lamb of God replaces the Pascal Lamb of the Exodus.

Today a seder based on this understanding invites a commitment to eradicate all forms of enslavement everywhere. We will celebrate this extraordinary metamorphosis with traditional symbolic items from the Passover Seder plate, and imagine what we would place on it today. Feel free to bring something with you to share in this way.

Starts at 7 p.m. No admission fee, but donations are welcome.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

‘We are thinking about God’

I don’t know how many Magpie readers pay any attention to the scores of links listed along the left side of the page, but one of them brings you to The Seforim Blog, a website concerning writings on Jewish faith, tradition, law, and related subjects. The blogger’s post yesterday addresses something near and dear to me: pipe smoking. His angle specifically is tobacco smoking as a spiritual aid, preparatory to prayer even.

Some of the wares available at the New York Pipe Club show last month.

The name of the old Craftsmen’s Calumet Club was selected, in part, because American Indians employed pipes (calumet) and tobacco in their faith and practice. I’m a member of a different tribe, and it delights me to no end to have found this information via The Seforim Blog. A copy of the book in question is destined to reach my reading chair – next to my smoking stand.

Here are a few excerpts. Read all about it here.

1)  References in literature to the use of tobacco by hasidic Jews are numerous. Although there is little direct evidence to indicate how widespread it was, the references suggest it was fairly extensive. Let us examine some of these. In his autobiography Solomon Maimon (d. 1800) describes a youthful visit to the court of Dov Ber of Mezhirech, the founder of the hasidic movement. Maimon remarks:

‘Some simple men of this sect, who saunter about idly the entire day, pipe in mouth, when asked what they were thinking about, replied, “We are thinking about God”.’

2)  There do not seem to be any references to tobacco in the classical hasidic works of doctrine, the hasidic Torah. Their absence from these sources may be because aids to contemplation (such as tobacco) were considered irrelevant to the ideal itself, although contemplation was clearly important in hasidic thought. Rabbi Phinehas of Koretz (Korzec) (1725-91), an associate of the Baal Shem Tov, reportedly observed:
These excerpts come
from this book.

With regard to imbibing tobacco, anything the body requires for it to be healthy is the same for all men. Therefore, since not everyone imbibes tobacco, it follows that it is not a permanent feature in creation, but only has healing powers for some. It has no healing power, and can do harm, to the majority of men, since it dries up the [bodily] fluid.

3)  Rabbi Abraham Judah Schwartz (1827-83), a prominent non-hasidic Hungarian rabbi, was eventually won over to Hasidism. In the biography written by Dov Beer Spitzer (Schwartzs grandson), we read:

From Pipe and Pouch.
My grandfather, of blessed memory, used to smoke tobacco (including cigars) to the extent that, occasionally, when he was engrossed in his studies and also when he taught his pupils in the beit midrash, it was as if he stood in the midst of a cloud so that it was impossible to come near to him. His son Naphtali Hakohen, of blessed memory, repeated in his name that the zaddikim intend great tikunim and have the following in mind. The pipe is made of clay, which is a mineral. The wood stem represents the plant. The bone mouthpiece comes from an animal. The smoker is a speaking creature [medaber, a human being, and fourth among the categories of mineral, plant, animal, and human] and he elevates all the stages beneath him (mineral, plant, and animal) to the stage of the speaking creature. For the zaddikim never carry out any empty act, Heaven forbid, but have their hearts concentrated on Heaven.

It is also reported that Rabbi Henikh of Olesko (1800-84), son-in-law of Rabbi Shalom Roke’ah of Belz (1779-1855), would take his snuff-box in his hand and inhale the snuff on Friday nights when he recited ‘Kegavna,’ the kabbalistic prayer. He would sing certain tones as he inhaled, and if any people were present who were ill or possessed by a dybbuk, a wandering soul which enters the body of a human being as a refuge from the demons which pursue it, they would begin to dance and move while the rabbi inhaled the snuff. Those close to him realized that it was an especially propitious time. Further, Rabbi Eliezer Zevi of Komarno (d. 1898) was reported to have said that the letters of the word tabak have the same numerical value (112) as those of the word yabok, which stands for yihud, berakhah, kedushah (‘unification,’ ‘blessing,’ and ‘holiness’) and also ya’anenu beyom korenu (‘He will answer us on the day we call’). Thus, he believed that tobacco helped the zaddik to achieve union, bestow blessings on his followers, and raise himself to greater heights of holiness, as well as predispose God to answer his prayers.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

‘The examined life’

‘The unexamined life is not worth living.’

A wonderful and welcome announcement from the School of Practical Philosophy. From the publicity (and this is not an April Fool’s joke):

To celebrate 50 years of philosophy classes in New York, we are offering Philosophy Works as a gift to you – no regular fee, just a $10 administrative charge.

School of Practical Philosophy
12 East 79th Street

This course is for anyone who has asked themselves “What am I doing here?” and who wants to expand their world, their thinking, and the view they have of themselves. Discussions are underpinned by the philosophy of unity, or Advaita, a universal, non-denominational teaching literally meaning “not two.” This is Eastern in origin, but of universal application because it points to the unity underlying all things.

The course is broad in scope, and is intended to be of real practical use. There are further opportunities available for anyone who subsequently wishes to deepen their studies. The approach is practical rather than academic. There are no exams to pass. No sitting at desks. The course does not offer certificates or diplomas, but something much more important – a living philosophy that is of real value in dealing with the challenges of everyday life, and developing one’s own potential as fully as possible.

Thus, Philosophy Works encourages everyone to access their inner happiness, wisdom and strength. The premise is that within each of us is an inexhaustible source of nourishment, well being and understanding. The classes put students in touch with this inner resource through the presentation of key principles and lively discussions of experience in putting these principles into practice.

Classes are available every day, except Sundays, and both in morning and evening times. To register, click here.

The classes:

THE WISDOM WITHIN – What is Philosophy? Why study Philosophy?
Introduction to two very practical exercises in awareness.

LEVELS OF AWARENESS – The wise live a life governed by principle.
How often and for how long are we awake?

BEING AWAKE – How can we live more consciously and with greater purpose? Observation and the spirit of inquiry.

THE POWER OF ATTENTION – How can we increase the power of attention and realize our full potential? What you give your attention to grow.

The difference between hearing and listening. Breaking habits of unnecessary speech.
Learning to listen.

When awareness and attention are open, how far can we see? Where is Beauty? What is beauty itself?
A practical investigation based on Plato’s Symposium.

Who is the center of attention? What can be done about the negativity that limits our awareness and happiness? Introduction to a time-tested remedy for negative feelings.

How can we wake up more often during the day?
Am I this body? Mind? Heart? Is there more?
Self-knowledge through observation: If you can see it, you can’t be it.

What is the ultimate aim of this study?
”Widening our circle of compassion.”
The philosophy of non-duality.

What are the marks of truth?
Would we like to live more truthful lives? 
The Good Impulse and the way forward.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

‘Here cometh April again’

“Here cometh April again, and as far as I can see the world hath more fools in it than ever.”

Charles Lamb

Frankly, this is as much for keeping track of my own calendar as anything else.

April 1 – New York City Mythology Roundtable: Discussion on The Book of Symbols, 7 p.m. at Caffe Dante on MacDougal Street in the Village. Bring your copy of the book.

April 2Drisha Institute for Jewish Education’s mixed program (lecture, workshop, et al.) on “Prayer: What Are We Doing?” Starts at 6:30 p.m. 37 West 65th Street in Manhattan.

April 1-4 – Nightly discussion on Appellatio Fraternitatis, newly published philosophical literature by the Rosicrucian Order. 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Rosicrucian Cultural Center, located at 2303 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard in Manhattan.

April 5 – “Taste of Yeats” at New York University’s Ireland House in the Village. No part of the day’s program is focused particularly on Yeats’ spiritual life, but any discussion of his life and work, I figure, would at least touch on the esoteric themes of his writings. Regardless, it should be a great day. Registration is paid in advance.

April 5 – “Life Against Death,” the third of four lectures by Eugene Schwartz in the In the Midst of Life: Understanding Death in Our Time series at the Anthroposophical Society’s New York City headquarters at 138 West 15th Street. 7 p.m. $20 admission for non-members.

April 9 – “The Origins and Offshoots of the Hierarchies and Humans,” the eighth of the 10-part Spiritual Beings and Their Work lecture series at the Anthroposophical Society. 7 p.m. $20 admission for non-members.

April 10 – Current Events Evening Talk led by Serguei Krissiouk on “Ukraine’s Fierce Struggle for Freedom,” concerning the historical, cultural, political, and spiritual causes of the current international crisis. Anthroposophical Society. 7 p.m. $20 admission for non-members.

April 14 – Opening Night of the f r e e spring semester at the School of Practical Philosophy. 12 East 79th Street in Manhattan. (Also available elsewhere in the United States.) Click here for info.

April 14 – Full Moon Meditation. I have participated in a few of these since last summer, and it’s still a pretty exotic experience. No ritualized, memorized, canned prayer, but something far more primal and true. 8 p.m. at the Rosicrucian Cultural Center.

April 15 – “A History of Dream Interpretation: Finding Meaning in Dreams from Ancient Cultures to Modern Societies” with Dr. Stanley Krippner. 8 p.m. at Observatory, located at 543 Union Street in Brooklyn. $12 admission.

April 17 – “The Last Supper Seder Transformed for Our Time,” is a clarion to eradicate all forms of enslavement everywhere. Anthroposophical Society. 7 p.m. Donations welcome.

April 21-25 – “The Sacred Circle of the Year: Ancient and Modern” explores the Rosicrucian approach to the pre-Christian and Christian-era calendars, namely the eight-fold cycle of the year. Facilitated by Steven A. Armstrong, nightly from 6:30 to 7:30 at the Rosicrucian Cultural Center uptown.

April 26 – Builders of the Adytum’s “Vibratory Attunement Ritual.” Yeah, me neither, but I’m going to check it out. Four o’clock at 71 West 23rd Street, 12th floor, in Manhattan.

April 30 – Illustrated art lecture by David Lowe titled “The Face of Christ: the 1400s from Giotto On.” Leonardo’s The Last Supper, Michelangelos The Last Judgment, and Raphael’s The Transfiguration, among other masterpieces, lead us deep into the origins of Rosicrucianism. (Mr. Lowe will lead a gallery walk at the Met on May 3.)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

‘The Book of Symbols at Mythology Café’

At the meeting next Tuesday of Mythology Cafe, the New York City Roundtable of the Joseph Campbell Foundation, the group will discuss that wonderful publication The Book of Symbols. Written and compiled by skilled hands of the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism, and published by Taschen in 2010, The Book of Symbols runs more than 800 pages and delivers hundreds of illustrated lessons on how man has harvested meaningful symbologies from the natural world and ages of human culture. It’s difficult to describe; I’ll have to dig up the review I wrote of it four years ago for some magazine or other. The book is a masterpiece, and I have found it useful countless times in aiding my own understanding of symbolisms in various esoteric contexts. It’s all here: the mystical, the practical, the mythological, the factual, the astral; animal, mineral, vegetable; the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s an amazing document.

The meeting will take place April 1 at Caffe Dante, the historic nook on MacDougal Street near the corner of Bleecker in the Village. Just a block west from our old haunt. Will begin at 7 p.m., and likely conclude at nine. (I am a little anxious to see this new Dante. It closed for renovations three months ago, and I have not seen the new look yet. It was such comfortable and comforting space, with its incredible, illustrious history.... Well, we shall see.)

Courtesy Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York

The organizers ask that we bring our books along, as there will be group discussion. “Choose 3 to 5 images from The Book of Symbols. Subjectively engage with each image/symbol. Prepare to share your critical and intimate encounter(s).”

It’ll be a great night.

Monday, March 24, 2014

‘Another Spring: the rebirth of thought and character’

Another Spring

Attune with the Changes
That Are Taking Place

By H. Spencer Lewis

The springtime of the year is close at hand, and it makes one realize that the freshness of the coming life and the vitality that is in the air signify a period when we should cooperate with nature’s processes of rebuilding and recreating, and become new men and women.

I like to think of the picture painted by one of the old mystics when he said that as springtime came he wanted to plant in the garden of his soul a seed of life, a seed of kindness and tolerance; that he would watch it carefully through the spring showers and high winds; mature it until summertime, then protect it against the heat of the sun and the great showers. In the fall, when it has become a great thing, he would bless it and enjoy its beauty and magnificence through the winter months, taking it closer to his bosom, keeping it warm, and letting it vitalize him during the close of the year.

Plant a Seed in Your Life!

Each one of us can plant such a seed at this time of the year by knowing that with the coming of spring come many opportunities to attune ourselves with the changes that are taking place. We can change our natures, our dispositions, our ways of thinking and doing things, and become new in many ways.

We really can clean house this springtime and rid ourselves of many superstitions, false beliefs, habits, and traits of character that clutter like weeds in a garden, and keep new plans, thoughts, and ideas from growing strong and beautiful.

Humans are constantly evolving, and it is for this reason that systems, doctrines, dogmas, and creeds, which served so well in the past, seem to be obsolete now.

It is not because we are less considerate of the higher things of life; it is not because we are less religious, less devoted to high ideals principles, or less moral; but it is because we have evolved to a different level of understanding. We feel sure that it is the higher understanding of those things necessary in life that builds character and makes for right living and divine attunement.

As evolving beings, we have changed from what we were a hundred years ago; we are not less spiritual, but more spiritual; we are not less devoted to principles and ideals, but more devoted to higher, broader, more understandable ones.

Continuing Cycles

In these clashes between the customs and thoughts of the past and those of today, there is more than this mere difference of opinion; there is the difference of continued evolution. Yet evolution is not only a thing of great cycles or eons of time, but of days, hours, and minutes. In the twinkling of an eye, we are told, many wonderful things can occur. In the passing of a few hours at night there may come a change in the life of any of us through a dream, a vision, or just a good night’s rest. And truly in the passing of a year, with its cycle of material changes and the effects of nature’s process of unfoldment, there can come to each of us modifications of understanding and viewpoint which will broaden and enlighten us and make us conscious of the grander aspects of life and our relation to the universe as a whole, instead of to only a small part of it.

Therefore, I plead for the rebirth of thought and character at the springtime of the year. I plead for a conscious, willful agreement with nature’s processes and a determined change in our individual natures. Let us rise above our local environments and find in ourselves a divine attunement with the entire universe so that we will not remain merely a part of the place or condition in which we happen to exist.

This is my thought these springtime days, and this is the thought that I would have you take under consideration for weeks to come, until it takes root in your consciousness and manifests in everything you think and do.

With a change of thinking and a broader aspect of consciousness will come a widening of your ability to live with understanding. You will find that there is a broadening of your whole life, that you are becoming more receptive to the blessings of the universe, more successful in your undertakings, more enlightened in your aspirations, and more truly inspired in your conceptions. Such a change in your nature, outwardly manifesting in many ways, will be noticeable and will attract to you those who are like yourself, repelling in a passive way those who cannot agree with you.

Soon you will find that the rebirth of the springtime has brought you into the summertime of joy and Peace Profound. Then, through the fall and winter, you will enjoy life as you have never enjoyed it before. With the ambitions, anticipations, exhilarating introspection known only to the true mystic, one who has passed through self-crucifixion and self-resurrection, you will look forward to the coming of another spring.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

‘Explore the Appellatio Fraternitatis’

The Rosicrucian Order has five nights of workshops planned for next week to bring to life the meanings of the Order’s new writings, the Appellatio Fraternitatis, in the tradition of Rosicrucianism’s founding documents printed in the early 17th century. (If you didn’t know, this year is the quadricentenary of the publication of Fama Fraternitatis in Germany. I have been meaning to write about this for three months—and hopefully will do so by year’s end—but it is difficult to collect my thoughts of this hefty subject.)

Anyway, Steven Armstrong will return to the Rosicrucian Cultural Center uptown for discussion and activities intended to explain what all this literature means, and to make it useful in life.

From the publicity:

In commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the issuance of the Fama Fraternitatis, the Appellatio Fraternitatis is a powerful call to understand and to manifest the Rosicrucian Principles in this crucial time in human history.

March 31 through April 4
Nightly from 6:30 to 7:30
Rosicrucian Cultural Center of New York City
2303 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard

This participatory workshop will explore not only the meaning of each section, but will also discuss ways of implementing each in our lives.

The first night we will consider the Preface and the Historical Background of the Manifestos.

The second night we will work with the Appeal for Spirituality.

The third night will center on the Appeal for Humanism.

The fourth night will deal with the Appeal for Ecology, and the Conclusion.

On the fifth night, participants will discuss the Imperator’s Discourse: Being a Thinking, Active, and Responsible Mystic.

Please read and meditate on the appropriate sections before each workshop.

The facilitator of this workshop, Steven A. Armstrong, M.A. Hum., M.A., M.Div., is a professional historian, philosopher, and teacher based in the San Francisco Bay area. He serves at the Grand Lodge in Membership Services; is an active member of both the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC and the Traditional Martinist Order; and has served as an officer in both Orders. His current areas of interest include how the Primordial Tradition permeates all world traditions, and the way in which the Rosicrucian and Martinist paths provide unique and unifying viewpoints on those traditions. The author of more than 30 published papers, articles and podcasts, and a lecturer for the RCUI, he is no stranger to New York City, as he received two of his Master’s Degrees at Fordham University’s Rose Hill Campus.