Ecclesiastical Moons 2019




 

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host of the weekly public radio segment of the same name, and who, as a global advocate for starry skies, led the team that established the 9th International Dark Sky Park in the world in 2011 at the Headlands, in her home state of Michigan. Mary has received numerous honors for her work advocating for dark skies through storytelling, and travels extensively teaching a humanities-based approach to understanding the celestial world around us, and the cultural influence of astronomy through the ages. You can follow along with her work here, tune in for weekly radio segments, catch up at one of her many speaking engagements, and even join in a night sky cruise along the great lakes.

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Dating Easter 2019

By Mary Stewart Adams

The Gregorian calendar rules, which are used to determine the date for Easter each year in non-orthodox churches, were instituted by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, when: 11 days were stripped from the calendar then in use; the observance of New Year's Day was moved from March 25 (Feast of Annunciation) to January 1st; and a growing number of traditions were organized into a system that resulted in centuries-long tables that are used to calculate what was considered at the time to be the most serious task every year — the true date for the Easter Festival.

The Calendar was intended for use by the Catholic Church in those areas where it has dominion and was not universally accepted as the world civic calendar system until the early 20th century, and while the civil administrations of eastern European countries adopted the Gregorian calendar in the 1910s or early 1920s, none of the national Eastern Orthodox Churches have recognized the Gregorian calendar for determining festival dates.

In nearly the same decade that the Gregorian calendar achieved worldwide acceptance as the civic calendar, Rudolf Steiner published the first Calendar of the Soul, for the year 1912/13. In May 1912 he gave a lecture on the calendar at Cologne stating that it is important to begin with the “correct computation of time.” He introduced it this way to explain why the date indicated in the calendar was 1879, calculated form the Mystery of Golgotha, rather than 1912, which was the year in the Gregorian calendar as computed from the birth of the Christ Child. “This is because it is important for people of the present age to regard the year of the Event of Golgotha as the most momentous of all, as the year which determines how time is to be computed. When on a Friday in April in the year 33 A.D. the Mystery of Golgotha took place, Ego-consciousness in the present sense was actually born.” With 33 A.D. as the first year, then 1879 years later would correspond to 1912 in the Gregorian calendar. See:


https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/19120507p01.html


Rudolf Steiner goes on to explain further that his intent with the Calendar of the Soul was to “express in the Calendar the objective fact of the birth of the Ego. We reckon from the Mystery of Golgotha, hence from Easter to Easter, not from one New Year's Day to the next.” He warns his audience that this will lead to “derision and mockery, because it compels us to reckon with years of unequal length. But in what is unequal there is life; in what is uniform and fixed there is the impress of death, and our Calendar is intended to be a creative impulse for life.” As such, the Calendar moves according to the movable feast of Easter, which leads us to the challenge of 2019, when the astronomical and ecclesiastical Full Moons don't agree, which put the dating of the Easter festival in question.

Why don't they agree? Because of the wobble of the Earth on its axis. This wobble causes a slow precession in the Earth's orientation to the stars, which results, over time, in a change in the date and time when the Sun appears to cross the celestial equator. During the ancient Egyptian epoch, the Sun achieved its moment of Equinox in front of the stars of Taurus. For the ancient Greeks, the moment of Equinox had precessed into Aries stars. At the beginning of the Christian era, the Equinox moment occurred at zero degrees of Aries, and has since precessed into Pisces.

In addition, the Equinox will not always happen on March 21st, as it has for several centuries, but will occur earlier, on March 20th, in accord with the Earth wobble and this precession. And that is what will happen in 2019: Equinox occurs on March 20th, followed a few hours later by the first Full Moon of the Spring. Technically, this should indicate that the date for Easter is the first Sunday following, which would be March 24th. However, the Gregorian calendar rules only recognize the Full Moon that occurs on or after March 21st, so even though the March 20th Full Moon is the first Moon of the Spring in an astronomical sense, it is not recognized as the Paschal Moon by the Church. Instead, the Church is using the April 19 Full Moon, which means they will observe Easter on April 21st.

This presents a challenge, as well a dynamic opportunity for research! Some of the first questions we must ask are: What source is being used to determine the moment of Equinox? How do we align the Calendar of the Soul verses in a way that honors the intent to stay awake to the cycle of the year? Has this ever happened before?

The answer to the last question is yes! At Easter 1924, the last Easter of Rudolf Steiner's life. In 1924, Equinox and the Full Moon occurred on March 20. The Church observed Easter one month later, on April 20 that year. It is important to note that Rudolf Steiner gave his Easter lectures in accord with the ecclesiastical calendar, and not the astronomical phenomena. See his “Easter Festival in the Evolution of the Mysteries”:


https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA233a/English/AP1988/EasEvo_index.html


In his concluding comments about the Calendar of the Soul, Rudolf Steiner stated that it was a deed he undertook that needed to be regarded “not as a sudden inspiration, but as something organically connected with our whole Movement.” To stay awake with it through this year's cycle, given the incongruence of the ecclesiastical and astronomical Full Moons, will require some work, the reward of which will be an invigorating frustration that keeps us awake and attentive to the waking and sleeping of the spiritual beings that inform and accompany us through every year.

Here, then, is a suggested approach to the verses for the weeks from Easter to St. John's, considering both March 24 and April 21 as the date for Easter.

The following correspondence between the Calendar of the Soul verses and dates are offered as an opportunity for research, for augmenting the experience of the yearly cycle, and for developing a wakeful relationship to the spiritual being of the year that is continually renewed from one year to the next.

In both cases, the new verse begins on a Sunday.

Correspondence of verses starting with verse 1 on March 24, 2019:

March 24

Verse 1

March 31

Verse 2

April 7

Verse 3

April 14

Verse 4

April 21

Verse 5 (Easter 2019 in the Gregorian calendar).

April 28

Verse 6, the “Ascension “ verse. If we calculate Easter from March 24, then 40 days following is May 2nd, and that would be Ascension Day

May 5

Verse 7, the verse of Luciferic Temptation, which corresponds to the 10 days of despair among the Apostles, from Ascension to Pentecost.

May 12

Verse 8, the Pentecost or Whitsun verse. If we calculate from March 24, then the 50th day, the Pentecost, occurs on May 12.

May 19

Verse 9, the Corpus Christi verse. Corpus Christi is observed on the Thursday after the Pentecost in Catholic Churches, to mark the joyful observance of the Transubstantiation, which is otherwise more solemnly observed during the Holy Week preceding Easter. The Latin hymns used in the Corpus Christi were in large part composed by Thomas Aquinas and include the verse: Let the old practice give way to the new rite.

May 26

Verse 9, again, to let the intuition build that we must lose ourselves to find ourselves. Because there is an increased number of weeks from March 24 to June 24, there must be an expansion of the verses. When calculating Easter from April 21, there will be a contraction, as will be seen below.

June 2

Verse 10

June 9

Verse 10 again.

June 16

Verse 11, the Solstice verse, as Sun achieves its “highest hour.” Solstice occurs during this week, on June 21 at 11:54 am EDT.

June 23

Verse 12, the St John's verse.


And now the two rhythms coincide.


Correspondence of verses starting with verse 1 on April 21, 2019:

April 21

Verse 1

April 28

Verse 2, the Cross-Quarter Day known as May Day happens on May 2 during this week, which marks the halfway point in the season and a turn from its beginning to its end, augmented by spirit worlds discovering their human offspring.

May 5

Verse 3

May 12

Verse 4

May 19

Verse 5

May 26

Verse 6, the Ascension verse. Ascension Day happens during this week on Thursday, May 30, when calculating Easter from April 21, 2019.

June 2

Verse 7, the Luciferic Temptation verse that corresponds to the 10 days between Ascension and Pentecost.

June 9

Verses 8&9, the Whitsun verse, and the Corpus Christi verse. Whitsunday, also known as Pentecost, occurs on Sunday, June 9, 50 days after Easter Sunday, April 21. Corpus Christi is observed in Catholic Churches on the Thursday following Whitsunday and is celebrated with hymns composed by Thomas Aquinas. Have contracted the verses that correspond to these weeks, to accommodate the shortened number of weeks from Easter on April 21 to St John's on June 24, mindful of the sacred observances and celestial phenomena.

June 16

Verses 10&11. Both verses reference the ascending Sun to its highest hour, which is the mood of Summer Solstice, which occurs during this week, on June 21 at 11:54 am EDT.

June 23

Verse 12, the St John's verse.

And now the rhythms coincide.

Respectfully submitted, that we may thus learn, in our inner life, that which determines the whole meaning of the year. (From Rudolf Steiner's The Moon Secret, Spring and Autumn Mysteries):

https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA233a/English/RSP1968/19240421p01.html

Mary Stewart Adams

8 March 2019



Page was last updated on Friday March 08, 2019 at 22:27:23.