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~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Patti Page (1927 - 2013) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ Singer, "Tennessee Waltz" etal ~~~~~
WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#13c December, 2013== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
Quote for the Christ-Bearing Month of December:
When you no longer love what is beautiful, you can no longer write.
— Joseph Joubert (1754- 1824) French Writer,
from page 151 of his Notebook
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DIGESTWORLDArchived DIGESTWORLD Issues
GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents ISSUE#13c for December 2013
Table of Contents
1. December's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for December
3. On a Personal Note
Flowers of Shanidar Poems
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe of the Month from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen: Fig Pecan Pie
6. Poem from Yes, and Even More!: "Chant Loudly"
7. Reviews and Articles Added for December:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: The Gospel of St. Luke by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: The Twelve Holy Nights and the Spiritual Hierarchies by Sergei O. Prokofieff
- ARJ2: The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, Vol. 3 by Henry David Thoreau
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
4. The Story of My Computer Simulator, c.1971
5. Curing a Veteran of PTSD
6. November 22, 1963 Remembered
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
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1. December Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet and Joey use Bobby's newly coined word kitschup which means something to add taste and verve to a boring piece of kitsch.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"Kitschup, Anyone?" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/112513vj.gif
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2. HONORED READERS FOR December:
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Each month we choose to honor two Good Readers of our DIGESTWORLD from those all over the World. Here are the two worthy Honored Readers for December, 2013:
Christopher Bamford in New York
Sirpa Marianne Khalil in Zurich, Switzerland
Congratulations, Christopher and Sirpa!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
THANKSGIVING COMES LATE AND SO DOES DIGESTWORLD
The five days I would have usually spent putting the finishing touches of Personal Notes and Photos into DW#13c for December Issue were spent cooking on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday morning to get our feast ready for two of our kids and their kids. Stoney and John brought their families to join us for the celebration of Thanksgiving in the USA.
The feast comprised:
Artichoke -Spinach Dip, Tostitos, Chee-Wees, Chips
Veggie Tray with Del's Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
22 lb Turkey stuffed with oyster dressing
Shrimp Stuffed merlitons
Green Bean Casserole
Mashed potatoes with Cheese Casserole
And for Dessert:
Fig Pecan Pie with Creole Cream Cheese Ice Cream (this month's featured recipe)
Sue Hatchett's Pecan-Praline Iced Yellow cake
Chocolate Doberge Birthday Cake for Kim Hatchett's Birthday
Not sure when this Issue will be completed, but it won't be before December 2 or 3 given the amount of work left to do and that half of my staff is heading to New York City to celebrate her daughter's 50th Birthday with some shows, some shopping, and some fun. So let's get those typewriter keys clicking before my Copy-Editor and Editorial Advisor leaves town for a week. Not to worry about me, the delicious shrimp-stuffed merlitons and oyster dressing will keep me well-nourished without my having to take time to cook.
INTO THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER
Now you know about Thanksgiving, what did we do the first part of the month? Let's go back to the last few days of October when Dan and Karen Richards, Del's brother and his wife, came to town from Charlotte, NC. to handle some real estate transactions, attend a Saints game, and have lunch with us at Galatoire's. Karen told me that Doris, Del's mom, loved to eat at Galatoire's and she took Karen there on many occasions back when she and Dan were living locally. Usually when we had dinner together the four of us would go to Bon Ton, but after Del and I celebrated our anniversary with lunch at Galatoire's, we decided our next meal out with Karen and Dan would be at Galatoire's. Following our lunch they would fly back to Charlotte and Del and I would head up to Tigerama in Baton Rouge (see previous issue for details).
We drove in tandem down Camp to Conti and when we arrived at our favorite parking lot, Del saw a LOT FULL sign and was chagrined. I said, "No worries". The attendant came as I drove in and I asked if we could park two cars and leave the keys for our three hours at Galatoire's and he said yes. Turns out the attendant's name was Percy, same as Dan & Del's father.On the way we walked through the Royal Sonesta Hotel's and saw John Folse's new restaurant "Revolution" was just off courtyard, the one Kim and her gang from Alex went to on Kim's 50th birthday about a month earlier. Oh, on the way from there to Galatoire's Karen spotted a LUCKY DOGS vendor with her hotdog-shaped cart on a corner and we got her to take our photo. We arrived and got seated in a few minutes for 11:30 at Galatoire's. Our waiter was named "Richard", Del's father's last name was Richards, another coincidence. Karen ordered the dish named Crabmeat Yvonne, and Yvonne was Del and Dan's mother's name. Doris Yvonne and Percy Francis Richards must have been with us for our joint anniversary celebration. Del and I, in our youth, believed coincidences to be random happenstance, whereas now we take them as indicative of a deeper meaning.
MY MOVIE STAR HAIRCUT AND INTERVIEW
My previous barber, Mike Nuccia, used to cut Paul Newman's hair whenever he was in town to film a movie. Once Paul had Mike flown to Miami where he was on the set of "Absence of Malice" and Mike had just combed Paul's hair in preparation for cutting it when the Director came in and said, "Leave it like that; it's perfect." Mike flew home with $500 in his pocket and he never cut a sliver of Paul Newman's hair in Miami. I told this story while Renelle was cutting my hair and said, "I want a movie star haircut." She actually trimmed my hair that day. The reason for the haircut: a movie producer Jon Fox was coming to town to interview me for a feature film on the life of Joseph Newman.
Joe was the inventor whose Energy Machine has produced tons of publicity since the 1980s and has yet to produce the free electricity as its inventor claimed was coming soon. Thirty years later, it is still coming soon, as Jon Fox informed me before the interview. Jon's last stop on his itinerary will be to visit Newman and his latest machine in the Dallas area. Will this be the one which will finally prove the viability of his invention?
One morning as I lay in bed only half-awake, it occurred to me that Tesla's famous coils and Newman's Energy Machines have similar attributes. Namely: spark gaps and capacitors to recover the back emf from the sparks. Tesla tuned his coils and used a secondary to elevate the voltage to high levels, reaching over 100,000 volts. Newman is utilizing the back-emf to produce motors which appear to consume less energy than they produce, thus indicating a source of energy previously untapped. Tesla may have tapped that energy, but it was difficult to calculate the amount of energy in the high-voltage discharges Tesla produced, so that question may not ever have been asked, up until now.
The day of the interview the President was in New Orleans to talk about International Shipping to some group, so Del and I drove together so she could supervise the setting up of the film lights and equipment while Jon and I took a walk in Audubon Park to get to know each other and plan the interview. He told me what questions he might ask, but didn't tell me how to answer them, and I respected that. It was good hearing about old buddies who were involved in the early days in 1980s with Joe Newman. Guys like Ralph Hartwell, Milton Everett, to name a few.The interview went fine, with minor hiccups from the paint crew working on the house we had rented and the occasional siren from police or fire engines which required a few re-starts. I was there the day that Joe Newman brought his prototype engine to the Tulane University engineering classroom, a visit which sparked the interest of about thirty engineers who later went to visit Joe at his home and laboratory in Lucedale, Mississippi. I remember thinking as we made the trip over winding country roads to Joe's lab the synchronicity of him living in a place named "the Valley of Light" and his producing a machine which can light up the world for almost nothing.
I do not know when the movie will be completed, only that Jon Fox has been working on such a film for a decade or more and only this year has received the full funding necessary to bring it to completion. When it's released and where it can be seen, I will let you know in some future DIGESTWORLD Issue. Stay tuned, as they used to say in radio days.
THEATER EVENTS: GHOST, ALONE TOGETHER, PRIDE & PREJUDICE
Since Del got us season tickets for the re-opening of the Saenger Theater, renovated to contain full-size Broadway productions, it seems that we've been bombarded with opportunities to attend plays of all sizes. Our second Saenger musical was GHOST— THE MUSICAL. In advance of going to the play, we decided to get a DVD of the 1990 movie in which Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore teamed up for a romantic love story, with rollicking laughter and a murder mystery thriller, rather an unusual combination in one movie. After twenty-three years, we found the movie still laugh-out-loud funny at times, attention-grabbing, and insightful in its portrayal of how the spiritual world overlaps the physical world at times. After seeing the musical version, our advice is skip the play and watch the movie, whether or not you've seen it before, you will enjoy it!
The local play Alone Together starred Spud McConnell in a comedy about a couple who finally gets their third and final son off to college and plans for some fun together, being alone together, and as soon as they get naked in bed, the first son who left returns home to live with them. Then the second son returns home because his girl friend has thrown him out for making eyes at a co-worker. And finally the third son who has left for college sends a girl friend to live with them while she awaits her dorm room's availability in their area. All the makings for a rollicking farce for a small dinner theater setting, which for us was our Timberlane Country Club.
When Elizabeth turns down Mr. Darcy's proposal at end the first of the two acts, some high school girls behind us literally cried out, "Oh no!" The staging and cast chosen by Southern Repertory Theater in New Orleans meshed together seamlessly, the actors rolling off polysyllabic phrases as if born in Devonshire, the two-story open doors revealing each character as the script names them, Mr. Bennett, Mr. Wickham, Mr. Darcy, and so forth, standing as if they were part of the opening titles of a movie, and then later speaking occasional phrases as a letter is read on stage written by them.When Act II ends with an accepted proposal and the lovers' kiss, all that was left to do was to stand in gratitude for great performance and applaud with enthusiasm. What was most delightful and unexpected was the effect I felt from the live performance in a small venue where one can clearly see the expressions on the faces of the actors. Like from a live lecturer, one could pick up the meanings directly, and in a play like this, the meanings in feeling form being broadcast by the actors are the most important. Once the actors truly know their lines, they can home in on the feeling states which accompany the subtext of the play at each point and those feelings fill the theater and the hearts of the audience.
One footnote on the Alone Together dinner theater play. Del and I sat with Johnny & Sylvia Marchese. She and Johnny talked while I had a delightful conversation with Sylvia over our dinner before the show. Sylvia's mother grew up in Donner, Louisiana with my mother. We cannot tell if they knew each other, and they may not have known each other because Sylvia's mother was several years older than my mom. I told her about the Buster & Annette Remembers Tidbit that I have on my website and sent her a link. In return I got several Donner photos from her collection to share.
GRETNA'S CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION
Our large subdivision has been part of the City of Gretna for about five years. We voted for incorporation because our county leaders in Jefferson Parish would not allow us to put up gates to prevent Timberlane being used as a shortcut for the road they have refused to build along Whitney or Wright avenues for traffic to and from Belle Chasse Hwy and Lapalco Blvd. Gretna promised we could gate if we were part of the city, and they kept their promise.I know no one who is not happier to pay more taxes to be part of the increased services including a fine police department, provided by the City of Gretna. When the first new Mayor in over twenty years was elected, Belinda Constant, we were hopeful for some signs of our blending into the city, and we didn't have long to wait. She proposed that to celebrate the upcoming 100th year of Gretna being a city some of the events be held at the Timberlane Estates large Country Club and Golf Course. The men would dress in hundred year ago golf clothes (knickerbockers, high socks, and Scottish tams) and the women of Les Dames de Timberlane would sponsor a gala dinner with a fashion show. The gala included a silent auction, an elegant banquet, and the fashion involved dresses and costumes of each decade of the twentieth century.The event was successful by every measure: all golfing slots for the shotgun start golf tournament were sold out weeks ahead of the event as were all the tables for the banquet. Our table included eight of us from our Anniversary lunch at Galatoire's this July. I lost my wife for about two weeks as she was at planning meetings, costume shops, and decoration committee meetings leading up to the event. Del dressed as a 1913 Gibson Girl with a large hat of the period, and for the fashion show she represented the Woman of the World, Eleanor Roosevelt at the peak of her prominence as first lady to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Few people present that day outside of me and Del knew that she was born the day that FDR became a ghost.Doris held her baby Del in her arms and asked the nurse, "Are they ringing all those church bells for my baby girl?" No, the nurse told her, the President has just died. I imagined that Del walked among the banquet table on November 15, 2013 looking ever so much like Eleanor that Franklin was walking alongside of the woman who adopted the first three letters of his middle name, Del. At the end of the banquet and fashion show the music played Louie Armstrong singing "What a Wonderful World" as the fashion show participants lined up and swayed back and forth singing to the music. In Gretna that day it was a wonderful world and a wonderful way to march our City into its next 100 years!
DO DAT AGAIN!!!
When we bought a hanging flag for the front of our home which says in Black and Gold, "Do Dat Again", we expected it to be appropriate for the 2012 Season which the NFL scuttled by choosing unilaterally to make the Super Bowl Winning (and almost getting in again the following year) Saints the fall guy for the series of teams trying to put football players out of commission. When they suspended our Coach Sean Payton and several other key players, coaches, and the General Manager Mickey Loomis, all hopes for playing in the Superbowl in the Superdome went out like a candle during Katrina!
But as Scarlet told the Butler, "Tomorrow is another day" and 2013 is another year and our sign is active again. We're not talking Playoff Games, but Home Field Advantage! ! ! Too soon to tell, but the Saints are playing like it's 2009 once again!
To our beloved Saints, all I can say is Bless You, Boys! Looks like you're going to Do Dat Again! You held the 49ers to under 200 yds (2nd week in a row) and you scored in the fourth quarter, not just one, but THREE Field Goals to win the game! Drew and Colston set all-time records in this game. Made up for the lost playoff game Del and I suffered through as we sailed through the Panama Canal on Crystal Cruise lines. Then you manhandled the Dallas Cowboys and made America's Team look like an NFL doormat.
You, our 9-2 Saints, are among our best ever team. After losing two games in the last minute, it was nice for you to win one in the last second and leave the 49ers experiencing the frustration we've felt from then since their Joe Montana Glory Days. These are your Glory Days! Take care of the remaining four games and you could go from the cozy surrounds of the Superdome to the frigid wastes of New Jersey in February and bring home another trophy for the city and fans who have loved and pulled for you since the frigid steel-seat days of Tulane Stadium.
ON THE FRITZ BLITZ
This is my least favorite personal notes to write: when things break or as the old saying has it, "go on the fritz". First my Timer on my new Smart Phone stopped working. I tried turning it OFF and back ON and it still didn't work. Then I remembered when I took my phone into the Verizon office and waited 15 minutes to see somebody about why my phone wouldn't work with my new Bose earphones suddenly after working just fine for weeks. Seemed to be some problem with the earphone jack in the phone. Guy said to unplug battery and plug it back in. No way, I thought, and sure enough that fixed the problem. Well, okay, I tried that Hard Reset and the Timer works fine now.
The Thermostat in the Living Room was the next part of the Fritz-Blitz this month. When it is set to 78 on the AC (air-conditioning setting), it works fine until an hour or so later when the room gets too cold and we notice it's now set at 70 degF with no one having touched it. This was the same timer unit which had been corroded and the AC man had fixed apparently, but several weeks later the new problem occurred. So the same guy came back with a new Thermostat, but the one allowed by the Home Warranty people was too small to cover the unpainted area left by the broken one. He went away and tried to locate a replacement, but none that came with a warranty, so he returned to install the smaller one. But, hit by a burst of inspiration, he went to a local appliance parts store and called to say that they had a larger one, but it was cost us $45 over what the Home Warranty would pay. I said get it. He did and we're happy with a new and fully functional thermostat.
The next part of the Fritz-Blitz has a story that goes with it. I bought my first ever pickup truck because we were moving a block and a half away, which is not very far, but we were taking EVERYTHING we owned. The F-150 clunker I bought was perfect for what we needed. A half-ton pickup truck that was owned and maintained by an auto mechanic. Everything that wasn't essential to trucking was gone or broken: no AC unit, but heater worked. No radio or CD player. The power windows get stuck if you rolled them all the way up or all the way down, but a hammer and piece of pipe banged on the motor will release it and get them working again. So we have kept it almost four years. Del wanted to contribute it to a charity which would give us a tax deduction, but I recalled that my daughter Yvette and her husband Greg in Houston area had just bought a multi-acre ranch near Brenham with a small house on it. My other Texas daughter was going to the ranch to have Thanksgiving with them. Del and I decided to offer the truck to Yvette and Greg as a gift, but they had to decide if they wanted it before the end of the tax year. They decided before the end of the phone call almost.
With Thanksgiving falling so close to December, the Christmas trees were in the lots already, so we decide to put ours up before Thanksgiving Day for the first time ever. I started up the pickup truck, we call her Babe because she hauls like an ox and is blue like Paul Bunyan's Blue Ox that he called Babe, and she purred for me on the second crank. That, after nearly 4 months of being on the float charge without being started. I drove her around the block. Noticed she needed some top off of the power steering fluid (it works), the brake fluid (anti-lock works), and the motor oil. After starting it up about four times, she seemed ready to pick up our ten foot Frazier Fir tree in her ten foot long bed. We selected our tree, hauled it into the bed, got into truck, and Del and I prepared to go home and erect the tree in the stand before nightfall. It was nasty outside and a slight drizzle was falling along with the temperature.The Babe's electrical system was dead! ! ! Not even a click of the ignition solenoid could be heard. I got out and checked the battery cables, moving them around, and I noticed the light under the hood was on. Got back in cab and blew the horn. It was loud, a good sign. Turned the key—still flat out dead! We called AAA. The AAA lady wanted to know if we had a warranty on the AAA battery. I said I didn't know, but she sent out the truck. Later, I unlocked the glove box and there was the warranty on the AAA battery under the Babe's hood: it was installed exactly 3 years ago to the day, November 22, 2010, so the warranty was exactly a year out of date. When the guy arrived, he said I'd still get some discount on a new battery. But he removed the wires from the ground battery clamp, brushed off the corrosion, then removed the clamp from the positive terminal and replaced it with a new clamp. Tightened everything up and the Babe started right up, purring along. His battery and alternator test said both were just fine.
The fourth and final part of the Fritz-Blitz was my internet connection was continually breaking up. I called Cox and got a neat young lady named Anna in Warwick, Rhode Island who diagnosed my cable modem as receiving a too-low signal and decided to send out a technician to fix the problem. The young tech arrived right after LSU had won the toss, elected to defer, and had kicked off to the Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel had just been stopped short by the LSU defense. I showed him around quickly and he worked around my watching LSU take A&M apart, holding them completely scoreless in the second half on the way to a complete 34-10 victory over the vaunted Johnny Football, Heisman Trophy and paid signature signer.
After the game was over, we adjusted our newly erected Christmas tree to a more vertical alignment, began stringing lights on it, and finally made and applied the snow to the branches of the tree. Next problem to solve was to make snow for the tree/ But first we re-aligned the tree requiring only a few deft adjustments on the screws to do the trick. We added more water to stand and I put into effect my idea for getting perfect snow by using our old coffee grinder to make Ivory Snow powder from two bars of Ivory Soap. It worked! We whipped up some thick snow like my mom used to make in the 40s and 50s and began to apply it to the tree. First time in years we've put snow on the tree and it was the best looking and easiest to make, ever. By 7 pm we had the lights on, the snow in place to dry overnight, and the next day we began putting ornaments on the tree.
THE TIMBERLANE SCREENING ROOM (TSR) REDUX
Since the Mitsubishi HD Projection TV bit the dust and had to be trashed, the Screening Room had a huge hole in it. Yes, it had five screens, but one was tiny. On the left side was the one remaining CRT, a heavy 40" flat screen WEGA by Sony which will probably last twenty years, but whose place was deserving of a new HD flat screen which I can move alone if necessary. So several weeks ago we set the rejuvenation of the TSR in motion by locating someone to take the WEGA, contracting with WoodnThings in Gretna to build us two shelves to hold four flat-screen 1080i TVs. We bought the two new TVs we needed and waited for the shelves to be delivered right before Thanksgiving. With Del's help, I tore apart the TSR, moving the large Panasonic Plasma TV and the LG LED to the dining room card table. Cleaned off my computer area so I could mount a fourth monitor to fill out the promise I had designed into my workstation from the beginning. The small TV from TSR would fill the fourth monitor till I got a better monitor.Kevin and Phil from WoodnThings (Whose Motto is: Friends Don't Let Friends Buy Fiberboard) came and placed the oak shelving in TSR for us. They cut the holes for the cables and power cords where we wanted them. They had forgotten the cypress swing we wanted, went back to get it, and installed it for us at no charge. We now have a swing on the West Portico! Two people can comfortably sit on the swing with a pull-down double-cup holder in the middle between them.
The next morning Marcelo came with Joseph to pick up his WEGA TV. They also helped Del to move the heavy black coffee table outside to the southmost corner of the West Portico porch. The two men were able to lift the TV out to the back of the truck, and I helped then do the final lift into the bed of the truck. Then they carried out the base. I told Marcelo he needed to get Joseph over to watch the Super Bowl on the new TV. Also told Marcelo that this was a bonus for all the good work he's done for us in the past, not an advance payment for future work. Anyway, he was smiling and glad to get the TV and that was payment enough for me.
Del and I had lunch with our good friend Rosie Harris, who has now moved from Timberlane and lives with her daughter in Slidell. Cathy had brought Rosie to town, so we invited them to join us at DiMartino's Deli, our neighborhood café which serves delicious food. I got my favorite lunch item, the Eggplant Parmesan, and suggested it to Cathy and her mom, Rosie. They each got one and had plenty left over to take back to Slidell with them for supper.
On another day, we got invited to have lunch with Frank and Eileen Arneman and Jim and Gail Webb at Commander's Palace. It was great seeing Gail and Jim again, and being with Frank in his favorite place to eat. He introduced us to the Head Waiter and when I mentioned the waiter David upstairs had been clowning around in the background of a photo another waiter had taken of us before we moved downstairs to a new table, Frank said, "Yeah, that David, he's one of my cadets. He's a good kid." And he definitely seemed to be one. I saved the photo with David in it for a DW Issue.
I found a new masseuse, Caroline, who operates the Wellness Spa in the Garrity Shopping area a block's walk away from our house. This month Del gave Caroline a try as well. Having a masseuse so close sure beats the 20 minute drive each way to Metairie. Although she is not giving up her long time friend and masseuse Charlotte.
Our LSU fig tree fruits in July and in November and this month we made fig preserves, about 8 pints, from the tree. By using the large Magnalite pot, I was able to get the preserves to the syrup stage in short order and we had just enough lids and bottles to fill. All of the bottle filled to the top and popped shut indicating a good seal. One of the pints went into the fig pecan pie whose recipe graces this month Recipe of the Month section. Each month has been a challenge to find a new recipe to use, and we are considering that perhaps each month might be our last recipe, so send us a recipe that you especially like, I'll make it myself, and if I like it also I'll add it to DW.S
Our friend from the Boston area, Burke Fountain, was in town for the weekend, and we met him at my club one night. He had Candice, a friend of ours from Algiers Point, with him. Was great seeing the two of them.
On a sour note, my re-ordering from amazon.com of the Red Leather-bound Humboldt's Gift to replace the copy I lost in San Francisco produced in my mailbox only a cheap, beat-up hardback with a cheesy yellow cover and bookjacket covering brittle, acid-based pages already turning yellow at the edges. None of which was described on the amazon.com webpage I ordered it from for $33. I was forced to make my first-ever amazon.com return. Thankfully the owner of the small bookstore apologized for the clerical mistake and quickly dispatched a replacement copy in return mail when he received the cheesy copy. He also offered to pay the $2.98 it cost me to mail the copy back to him.Overall I was impressed by the ease of returning and correcting the mistake by the amazon.com vendor and the overall experience I've have been buying products for several years from its website and it's tops! If I see a book there I want, it's in my mail box with a few days, and except for this one bummer, is exactly as described.
For several months I have had Google Analytics showing in Real-time the areas that my website is being accessed all over the world. One day I noticed Good Readers in Tours, France and in Berlin, Germany reading two of my Thoreau reviews, so I checked in on this one: http://www.doyletics.com/arj/tjr03rvw.htm In this review Henry and I wax eloquent on the telegraph harp. What a delight for me to read it again! "I must add it to some future DW Issue!" I thought to myself. And I have, this Issue. When I couldn't find it in any DW issue, I looked harder and found a short blurb for it, consisting mostly of Kevin Dann's comments on my review, so I am including that review in its entirety in this issue. I hope you enjoy half as much as I did re-reading it.
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING, SO UNTIL NEXT MONTH
The past 30 days of November have been jam-packed with activities, movies at home, theater plays at the Saenger, Ursuline Academy, and Timberlane Country Club, Gretna's Centennial Celebration, Golf Tournament and Fashion Show, and ending with a grand family Thanksgiving Feast at Timberlane. The LSU Tigers lost to Ole Miss but came back to beat Texas A&M and Arkansas to make possible another ten win season with a Bowl Victory; the Saints lost to the Jets, but came back strong to beat 49ers, Cowboys, and the Falcons, looking like a Super Bowl contender ready to Do Dat Again. We had great meals with friends at Galatoire's, Commander's Palace, Timberlane Country Club and with family on Thanksgiving Day at our home. Things went on the fritz and got fixed. The Screening Room is entering a new era of all flat-screen HD TVs.My workstation is filled out with four monitors to help me ease through the toughest week of the month, that last week before the 1st when the publication deadline looms over me like Godzilla over Tokyo. We put up our Christmas tree early so Del can take off the first week of December for Christmas in New York City with her daughter for Kim's fiftieth birthday. When she returns we can focus on getting presents and enjoying Christmas in New Orleans, the concerts at the oldest Cathedral in the country, carol singing in Jackson Square, and watching the Saints taking care of business in the last five games of the season. Most importantly we will be meditating on the Twelve Holy Nights as described in the Prokofieff review in this issue come Christmas Eve to the Epiphany on Jan. 6.IMPORTANT MESSAGE:
Till we meet again in these pages in 2014 on January 1, God Willing, and the Mississippi River don't freeze over, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and remind you, wherever you go, whatever you do, wherever in the world you live, be it returning Light or increasing Darkness, mid-Winter or mid-Summer, of our slogan for the short remaining month of this God-given Year of Grace:
MAY THE WORLD CONTINUE PEACEFUL AND SERENE IN TWENTY-THIRTEEN
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Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:
He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.
Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister) US writer
I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
— Will Rogers
What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
— Edward Langley, Artist (1928-1995)
A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
— Thomas Jefferson (Third American President )
Maybe our favorite quotations say more about us than the stories and people we're quoting.
John Green in Celebrity Cipher feature of New Orleans Advocate, November 8, 2013
New Stuff on Website:
—HOUSEHOLD HINT TIDBIT: Simple Method Makes V8 six-pack Easy to place in Fridge and later Remove One at a Time.
Have trouble opening the tight-plastic shrink-wrap package on V8 packages?
You can struggle to remove one can, and then the next, etc. If you then want to put them in fridge, you can't hold all six in your hands at the same time, can you? Finally I discovered a simple expediency shown in the photos. A serrated knife allows you to slice open the hard shrink wrap across the top. Now, by grabbing cans with one hand across the slitted top, you can carry all six cans to a refrigerator shelf and place them there. Later, when you want a cold V8, each can can be easily removed by sliding the wrap to the side.
Bobby Matherne, Nov 11, 2013.
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From Flowers of Shanidar, A 1990 Book of Poetry by Bobby Matherne
In a small dark cave in the hills of Northern Iraq near the Turkish border the excavator Ralph Solecki found in 1960 the bones of a young man placed in the recess between two large boulders. Analysis of the remains from the cave of Shanidar determined that the burial occurred over 60,000 years ago.
Soil samples collected near the bones were only analyzed several years later and produced a quite unexpected result. Ordinarily a small random assortment of pollen grains would be found in funereal soil samples, but the Shanidar soil analysis revealed thousands of pollen grains from wild flowers of the region. Flowers of rose mallow, hollyhocks, hyacinths, and other indigenous varieties of flowers had been systematically collected and transported to the cave of Shanidar as a funerary tribute.
Astonished, the scientists were confronted with the earliest known evidence of a burial ritual. From the very dawn of mankind a message had come down to us, written in pollen grains from the flowers of Shanidar, of the birth of a new consciousness — the consciousness of death.
How far have we progressed in the knowledge of ultimate destinations in the 600 centuries since that funeral celebration? As we stand before the door to the new millennium, do we dare to knock? Are we ready for the new flowers of Shanidar and the birth of consciousness that will surely accompany our passage into that new era?
These poems are from Bobby Matherne’s 1990 book of poetry, Flowers of Shanidar and have never been published on the Internet before. Here in the beginning of the new millennium, we are publishing each month five poems, one from each Chapter of the book. (Flowers drawn by Artist Maureen Grace Matherne)
1. Chapter: Hollyhocks
The midnite elves were on the shelves
and counters of the kitchen
They made them sparkling clean in the dark
and even loaded the dishes in
The dishwasher and started it running
well into the winter's evening.
LO! upon the morning's early light
everywhere the eyes could see
The house was right — a lovely sight —
and who'd take the credit? Not Me.
The midnite elves enjoyed themselves
and didn't look for credit
They tended to their task without being asked
and would only answer, `Not Me did it.'
2. Chapter: Hyacinths
Stamped out by the thousands
in duplicate progression
The professionally baked cookies
roll down the assembly line
into identical bags
Their ingredients are listed
to pass federal inspection
In duplicate cardboard cartons
they fly to awaiting retail shelves
where they are bought
placed into matching paper sacks
carried home to matching
between the parallel teeth
of orthodontic mouths —
Cookies like no one's mother
3. Chapter: Rose Mallow
Waiting for the Flowers
Please, be still, my little one
The clover green is soon to sport its floral crown
for wreaths of springtime fancy.
Be still when waiting for the flowers.
Smiles of joy on tender lips
Chiffon cascades from out your dainty hips,
gown is vacant of corsage.
Be still when waiting for the flowers.
The bride aims her bouquet throw
O'er her head while the little maids down below
champ at the bit of weddedness.
Be still when waiting for the flowers.
In the straitjacket of death
Mortal lies subdued and calm in Sunday best
inside eternal bower.
Be still when waiting for the flowers.
4. Chapter: Rainbows & Shadows
This month, as we near the completion of Bobby's first book of Poetry, Flowers of Shanidar, we continue with a poem from his second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). This month we read about Accidents:
Accidents are miracles
of wrong-mindness —
Miracles are accidents
5. Chapter: Violets
How can I write a poem?
It's not I who cause words to form.
When the words come in a torrent
It's not I who am the current.
I am not the river but the channel
The words flow through, both wise and banal.
The river deserves all the credit
And I will see the river get it.
To be a channel's not so tough
As long as you are deep enough
Or else the river overflows its banks
Without so much a "May I?" or a "Thanks."
The river may be in control, but what the heck
It's I who gets to cash the check.
New Stuff on the Internet:
- [add here]
Movies we watched this past month:Notes about our movies: Many of the movies we watch are foreign movies with subtitles. After years of watching movies in foreign languages, Arabic, French, Swedish, German, British English, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and many other languages, sometimes two or three languages in the same movie, the subtitles have disappeared for us. If the movie is dubbed in English we go for the subtitles instead because we enjoy the live action and sounds of the real voices so much more than the dubbed. If you wonder where we get all these foreign movies from, the answer is simple: NetFlix. For a fixed price a month they mail us DVD movies from our on-line Queue, we watch them, pop them into a pre-paid mailer, and the postman effectively replaces all our gas-consuming and time-consuming trips to Blockbuster. To sign up for NetFlix, simply go to http://www.netflix.com/ and start adding all your requests for movies into your personal queue. If you've seen some in these movie blurbs, simply copy the name, click open your queue, and paste the name in the Search box on NetFlix and Select Add. Buy some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. You get to see your movies as the Director created them — NOT-edited for TV, in full-screen width, your own choice of subtitles, no commercial interruptions, and all of the original dialogue. Microwave some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. With a plasma TV and Blu-Ray DVD's and a great sound system, you have theater experience without someone next to you talking on a cell phone during a movie plus a Pause button for rest room trips.Hits (Watch as soon as you can. A Don't Miss Hit is one you might otherwise have missed along the way.):
P. S. Ask for Blu-Ray movies from NetFlix, and if it says DVD in your Queue, click and select Blu-Ray version."Ten Inch Hero" (2007) usually I pick up the eponymous references during a movie, but this film got us so engrossed in the lives of these interesting people in the Beach City Café that I missed the obvious references, which occur at many levels, throughout the movie. It was over too soon, but tied up with a Happy-Ever-After bow with the reappearance of the eclectic cook. Never saw the ten inch tall people, thought many it was the people in the mural, and maybe it was, and even more. As the good feelings from this wonderful movie slowly ebbed away, the answer came to us in a shock of recognition. Hope your experience of watching this movie is equally as much fun for you. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! ! ! ! !
"Hemingway and Gellhorn" (2012) with Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman, filled with 2 hours and 34 minutes of great movie experiences, e. g., a soldier shot in battle, photo snapped of him splayed against the sky before he fell to ground, Hem recognized him as a friend, verified he was dead, thought a second or two, then picked up his friend's rifle and charged out of the trench into the battlefield with bullets flying, seeing Heminway, Gellhorn runs after him calling his name. Hem and her move to Cuba and the war becomes personal so she leaves for Finland's Winter War against Russia, then take Hem with her to China to meet its leaders. Came back to USA and told Roosevelt to watch out for Chou En-lai, which FDR interpreted as meaning the Hemingway's had turned communists. You cannot watch this movie without feeling empathy with the anti-fascists in Spain and singing "Ay, Ay, Carmelo!" along with them.
A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !“My Beautiful Career” (1979) what’s a girl to do when she wants to be a writer and her grandmother insists that she become a lady?
“Get Shorty” (1995) witty, funny look at Hollywood outside the majors. What’s Chilly to do when he orders a Cadillac and gets the Cadillac of minivans? He continually turns thorns into roses while turning from a Shylock into a Preminger. A DON’T MISS HIT! ! !
“Fly-fishing in the Yemen” (2011) Great casting for this movie, both roles and flies. A boondoggle turns into reality with a lot of imagination and money, and three lives are enriched and enrich ours. Crazier things have happened in the name of love. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Before Midnight” (2013) “Before Midnight” (2013) marvelous sequel to “Before Sunrise” (See DW#54 & 083) as the now forty-something couple, at the end of Greek vacation rekindle their flame of love dimmed by three kids. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“As Cool As I Am” (2013) Claire Danes in fun Indy romance. “"If memory is malleable, then the future is too."”
“We Bought a Zoo” (2011) Mr. Mee, always ready for his “20 Seconds of Courage,” bought a zoo after finding “Their Happiness was Too Loud” and reveals to us “The Story behind the Story” in this amazingly original movie where Jason Borne gets to kiss the Girl with the Pearl Earring. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
"High Plains Drifter" (1973) when the thugs return to trash the town, they are greeted by it painted all in red and a "Welcome to Hell" sign, just Clint Eastwood getting his drifter chops.
"Monte Walsh" (1970) Lee Marvin and Jack Palance star in this fading cowboy movie as the range is being fenced in. Wonderful low keyed performance by both men as they confront change in their world.
"Parkland" (2013) Behind the scenes look at events at Parkland Hospital on the two days following November 22, 1963, where the doctors dealt with the death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald.
"The Party" (1968) Blake Edwards unleashes Peter Sellers at a Hollywood mucky-muck party and as Hrundi, he wreaks havoc on the previously elegant mansion. A DON'T MISS HOOT! ! !
"Dr. Strangelove" (1964) the doomsday machine goes down with Peter Sellers as the weird doctor. Greatest line in the movie, "You can't fight in here. This is the WAR ROOM!"
"Memorial Day" (2012) James Cromwell & son take us through two wars on a Memorable Day. A DON'T MISS HIT !
"The Fitzgerald Family Christmas" (2012 ) a story written, directed, and starred in by Ed Burns in which an estranged and strained family must overcome past bitternesses for a chance at one last Christmas together.
"The Damned United" (2008) Brian Clough's track to Best England Manager ever hit a big speed bump, the Damned United.
"The Thanksgiving House" (2013) adventure in quiet Plymouth, Mass. centers around a history professor discovery of the site of the first Thanksgiving on the grounds of a house newly inherited by a Boston attorney.
"It's A Big Country" (1951) seven stories filled with great actors about this country we call America in post-war 1940s. A time warp into the past.
"Opa!" (2007) American man Matthew Modine goes to Greece and falls in love with Greek girl which searching for the cup of St. John the Divine, like a "Charlie Valentine" movie.
"Ghost" (1990) Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore team up for a romantic love story and thriller for the ages. After twenty-three years, it is still laughout loud funny at times, plus attention-grabbing, and insightful in its portrayal of the spiritual world as it overlaps the physical world at times. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"Tamara Drewe" (2010) writer colony runs amoc in rural England when Tamara Drewe (the Beak) comes home with a nose job.
"Older Than America" (2008) a coverup of mistreatment of the Ojibwa tribe is abetted by a priest and doctor who prescribes electro-convulsive shock treatments, and a stranger comes to the Rez, a geologist investigating an earthquake, and soon the hidden evils are flushed out into the open.
"War in Winter" (2008) Learning to shave, to save, to kill, to forgive, and to live during a war in wintertime.
"We Bought a Zoo" (2011) Mr. Mee, always ready for his "20 Seconds of Courage," bought a zoo after finding "Their Happiness was Too Loud" and reveals to us "The Story behind the Story" in this amazingly original movie where Jason Borne gets to kiss the Girl with the Pearl Earring. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
Misses (Avoid At All Costs): We attempted to watch these this month, but didn't make it all the way through on most of them. Awhile back when three AAAC horrors hit us in one night, I decided to add a sub-category to "Avoid at All Costs", namely, A DVD STOMPER. These are movies so bad, you don't want anyone else to get stuck watching them, so you want to stomp on the disks. That way, if everyone else who gets burnt by the movie does the same, soon no copies of the awful movie will be extant and the world will be better off.“McGabe and Mrs. Miller” (1971) Robert Altman western, dark, outa focus and storyline, and even Julie Christie looks ugly.
"You Can Count on Me" (2000) with Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo as sister and brother at loggerheads. Mark is the loose cannon that releases his sister from her box of expectations and limitations.
"Parked" (2010) Colm Meany living in his car in frigid Dublin. We tried to watch this one, but the dialogue was mumbled and indistinct, and no subtitles provided. We unparked the DVD and shipped it back as defectively produced.
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:"Cinema Verite" (2011) a non-reality show about the first reality show is still a drag, more a Cinema ad Nauseam, a film for the sake of film - like a gallon size bottle of Kitschup!
"11:14" (2005) a quirky movie in which multiple actions happen at 11:14 PM which requires multiple rewinds of time to show them all, including a pregnancy, a bowling ball, an armed robbery, a hit-and-run, a falling corpse, and a detached penis, among other things. YC
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Boudreaux Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission
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== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == This month's Cajun Story adapapted from a story sent by Anthony Celino. Thanks, Tony!
Boudreaux is always being pestered by Marie whenever there's the least little thing wrong with the car. Like the time she wanted a replacement for her 710 Cover on her engine. Boudreaux had to go outside to get her to show him the missing OIL Cover. So Marie hardly gets any respect from her husband when she says the word "car".
Like last week, for example. Marie came into the den where Boudreaux was watching an LSU football game and announced, "There is something wrong with the car."
Boudreaux barely looked away from the game, "Mais bon Dieu! Wat is it?"
"There's water in the carburetor," Marie replied.
"Water in de carburetor? Are you couyon or something? Dat's ridiculous."
"But Ah swear dat de car has water in de carburetor."
Boudreaux reluctantly got up and walked over towards Marie, saying as he passed her, "You don't even know wat a carburetor is. Lemme go see."
As he opened the door, Boudreaux looked around outside, then turned back and asked Marie, "Mais, where's de car?"
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5. RECIPE of the MONTH for December, 2013 from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Fig Pecan Pie
Background on Fig Pecan Pie: During the SOFAB (Southern Food and Beverage Museum) Sponsored Kitchen Tour on Allard Street off City Park, I stumbled into a New Orleans treasure in one of the kitchens, Dickie Brennan of the famous restaurant family. We shared recipes with each other and he gave me this one. Was the easiest recipe anyone ever gave me and among the most delicious: Put fig preserves in a pie shell, cover with pecans and bake it. Garnish with Creole Cream Cheese ice cream. Thanks, Dickie! If you are planning to make this recipe, start out by making your own fig preserves or get some from a friend who makes them. Fig trees are ubiquitous in the New Orleans area. We have a friend who nearly cried when a woman cut down her fig tree. You see, that tree hung over a parking lot near his home in the French Quarter and he would pick figs from it every July. Now it's gone. I loved picking figs from Grandma Babin's fig trees as a child, and sitting next to her as she peeled the skin off the Celeste figs for me. To this day, eating Celeste figs this way is still a special treat for me. I usually put them overnight in the fridge and eat them the next morning. Our new home didn't have a Celeste fig tree, so I planted one and expect the first crop next July. Until then, the LSU purple fig tree is producing a bounty twice a year, in July and in November. More figs than we can eat, but now I have this new recipe to use figs in. Suggest you don't mention there's figs in the pie before your friends have a chance to enjoy and some folks have a built-in and unjustified bias against figs. Not me and not Dickie Brennan. For the ingredients, if you wish to make your own fig preserves, here's the link to my recipe.
1 pint of homemade fig preserves
1 cup of shelled pecans (.5 to 1 inch size is best)
1 pint of Creole Cream Cheese ice cream
1 frozen pie shell (not deep-dish)
Let pie shell come to room temperature for 15 minutes. Make slight fork holes in shell. Chop one cup of pecans with large Chef knife. Leave on chopping board.
Open jar and remove 1 pint of fig preserves, decanting any syrup into separate container and putting fig preserves into 4 cup measuring cup or bowl. Take half of chopped pecans from board and place in small cup. Scrape up the remainder and place into cup with preserves and stir by hand to blend in. Like this. You want the small pecan dust to mix into the middle of the pie filling preserves.
Pre-heat oven to 450 degF. Make slight fork holes in shell. Bake pie shell partially, 5 to 7 min. Remove pie shell (lower temp to 350 degF) and fill shell with fig preserve mixture. Then layer the remainder of the chopped pecans on the top of the pie. Place back into over and bake for 50 to 60 minutes (until shell edges are slightly brown)
Serve with a scoop of Creole Cream Cheese ice cream or some other elegant vanilla ice cream.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from Yes, and Even More!:
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Oh, what silly commercials!
Trying to tell me what to think and then
Trying to sell me something
To correct the problem
That they created in my thoughts.
Chant Loudly: Written in Bobby Jeaux's Kitchen at Timberlane on November 21, 1997 about 4 PM while listening to the voice track of The Kennedy's of Massachusetts on Bravo from the Screening Room.
I had been chanting the words aloud just to block the commercials from my hearing. Thus the title is an instruction about what to do with the poem, and when to use it. Rudolf Steiner says, "You must continually be spitting out what is bad, spiritually, if your spirit is to remain healthy." Turning off commercials, avoiding news programs, ignoring newspaper articles are some of the ways that I do this. Plus chanting loudly this poem when I can't get to the MUTE button in time.
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for December:
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For our Good Readers, here are the reviews and articles featured this month. The first review of each month will be one which was published before the first DIGESTWORLD ISSUE in 2000 and will be of interest to our new Good Readers. The rest of the items, unless otherwise noted, will be new additions to the top of A Reader's Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, new additions to A Reader's Treasury, or Essays previously unpublished.
NOTE: some Blurbs may be condensations of the Full Reviews, lacking footnotes and many quoted passages. For your convenience, if you wish to read the full review or to print it out, simply CLICK on the Book Cover and choose Printer Ready option at the top left corner. CHANGE BELOW DATE EACH MONTH ****
The first review this month is from 1998. It contains the story of the two Jesus children, and it has not appeared in a DIGESTWORLD Issue, up until now. Hope you enjoy it.
1.) ARJ2: The Gospel of St. Luke by Rudolf Steiner
Anyone who has read the Christmas story in St. Luke's Gospel and compared it to the Christmas story in St. Matthews's Gospel might well wonder if it's about the same Jesus. Rudolf Steiner says it's not — that there were two historical Jesus's born about the same time. How can Steiner make such a claim? To understand that, one needs to realize that the family trees that we are familiar with involve only the physical body, and the tracing of one's physical body and blood takes us back through our parents, our grandparents, and so forth.
What about the other components of the human, the etheric body, the astral body, and the Ego body? These likewise have histories and each can be traced by the techniques of spiritual science which Steiner is adept at applying.
Zoroaster or Zarathustra was the first person to look at the sun and see that the rays pouring forth from it to the earth represented the vesture or physical clothing of a great outpouring of spiritual light from the same region of space. Think about it this way: if there are brilliant spiritual beings in the universe, would they hide in the dark or would they align themselves with the brightest source of physical light available? Doesn't it make sense that both the spiritual and the physical worlds would be aligned in space?
Zarathustra called this Spirit of the Sun Ahura Mazdao and said that this Spirit was coming ever closer to the earth, that He would visit the earth one day. This great Spirit came to be called by many names, among others, the Christ. This name was applied many hundreds of years before Jesus's birth.
Zarathustra, when he died, because of his refined spiritual nature, left behind in the spiritual world his etheric, astral, and Ego bodies. Later his etheric body entered the man known by the name Moses and helped him to become a great leader of his people. Zarathustra's astral body entered the Egyptian Hermes who therefore possessed all the knowledge of Zarathustra and became a great teacher of that knowledge. Hermes is best known among modern day historians as the founder of the arts connected with writing. In 600 B. C. the Ego body of Zarathustra entered another Persian known as Zarathas, often confused with Zarathustra, who founded the Chaldean Mystery Schools. The wise men who studied in these schools of the east were variously called kings or Magi. They felt a deep connection to their beloved leader Zarathas and through him to their spiritual leader Zarathustra.
[page 100] They saw in him the 'Star of Humanity', for 'Zoroaster' (Zarathustra) means 'Golden Star', or 'Star of Splendour'. They saw in him a reflection of the Sun itself. And with their profound wisdom they could not fail to know when their Master was born again in Bethlehem. Led by their 'Star', they brought as offerings to him the outer symbols for the most precious gift he had been able to bestow upon men. . . . Symbols [of] gold — the symbol of thinking, frankincense — the symbol of the piety which pervades man as feeling, and myrrh - the symbol of the power of will.
The religious tradition streaming from Zarathustra to humankind was concerned with the outer world. Zarathustra's attention to the outer world showed up in his focus on the rays of the Sun that warmed all life externally and his focus on the outer traits of the human being.
At the same time that Zarathustra's Ego was operating in Zarathas (600 B. C.), another great spiritual leader arose in India in the person of Gautama Buddha. The Bodhisattva that incarnated in Gautama led him to the doctrine of compassion and love known as the Eightfold Path. A brief summary of the Eightfold Path from pages 69 and 70 follows:
1.) Right View — I view things from what appears to me outwardly.
2.) Right Judgment - I judge in accordance with my right view.
3.) Right Speech — I give true expression of my right view and judgment.
4.) Right Action — I let my right view, judgment, and speech become deed.
5.) Right Vocation — I act in my highest and best line of work.
6.) Right Habit — I work steadily till right action becomes a habit in me.
7.) Right Mindfulness — I link the present with the past and thus account for what I have already learnt in previous lives.
8.) Right Contemplation — I let the things of the world speak directly to me without partiality to views of other humans or my former incarnations.
[page 70] He [Buddha] had brought into the world a physical body able to unfold out of itself, forces that formerly could flow down from higher realms only. The first body of this kind was brought into the world by Gautama Buddha. . . . A power that [could] pass over into all men [was] then engendered.
Let us summarize Buddha's life: the Bodhisattva came to earth, was purified by the Eightfold way, and when Buddha's body died, the Bodhisattva left earth, with no need ever to return in a physical body. One of the refined bodies of the Buddha after death remained close to earth — this spiritual body is known as the Nirmanakaya. This spiritual body returned in one of the Christmas stories as the "heavenly host" that appeared to the shepherds on the hillside.
We are now in a position to look at the two Christmas stories and to make sense of why there should be two separate humans named Jesus born and living in Judea. To help you keep the two stories straight I have created a mind map of the two Jesus's with all the pertinent connections.(Figure 1. Above)
In the Gospel of St. Matthew, the genealogy of Jesus goes back through the kingly line of Solomon to King David. King Solomon as king was mostly concerned with the outside world, the traits of humans as they were shown outwardly by his subjects. The birth of Jesus was announced to the father Joseph. In this gospel appears the wondrous account of the three wise men from the east, the Magi bearing gifts for the baby Jesus, following their Star to his humble crib in Bethlehem. Shortly after Jesus's birth his mother and father take him to Egypt. Remembering that both Moses, bearing Zarathustra's etheric body, and Hermes, bearing Zarathustra's astral body, spent many years in Egypt, it is understandable that a trip would be made to Egypt so that, in addition to the Ego of Zarathustra, the infant Jesus might be exposed to, and by such exposure absorb the vestiges of the etheric and astral bodies of Zarathustra extant in Egypt. All of these things are consistent with what one would expect of the account of the birth of the glorified being of Zarathustra who was in his life on earth concerned with the things of the outside world and the outer traits of human beings.
In the Gospel of St. Luke, the genealogy of Jesus goes back through the priestly line of Nathaniel to King David. Nathaniel as priest was mostly concerned with the inner world, the traits of humans as they are developed inwardly by those he administered to. The birth of Jesus was announced to his mother Mary. In this gospel appears the wondrous account of the "heavenly host" appearing to the shepherds tending their flocks on the hillside. All of these things are consistent with what one would expect of the account of the birth of the glorified being of Buddha who was in his life on earth concerned with the things of the inner world, the inner traits of human beings. Steiner identifies the "heavenly host" as the Nirmanankaya of Buddha, his glorified spiritual body that appears first to the shepherds in the sky and later around the face of Jesus when he is presented to Simeon. Simeon is the same being who in an earlier incarnation in Buddha's time wept when looking at the infant Gautama because he would not live to see the day "when this Saviour will walk the Earth as Buddha!"Thus it makes sense that when Simeon sees the radiance of the glorified Bodhisattva [Nirmanakaya] above the head of Jesus, he would say to himself, "Now you need no longer grieve, for what you did not live to see at that earlier time, you now behold: the glory of the Saviour shining above this babe. Lord, now let thy servant die in peace!" Steiner’s exact words on the matter follow:[page 54-55] These are the findings of spiritual investigation. It was the Bodhisattva of old who now, in the glory of Buddhahood, appeared to the shepherds. From the Akashic Chronicle we learn that in Palestine, in the 'City of David', a child was born to parents descended from the priestly line of the House of David. This child — I say it with emphasis — born of parents of whom the father at any rate was descended from the priestly line of the House of David, was to be shone upon from the very day of birth by the power radiating from Buddha in the spiritual world. We look with the shepherds into the manger where 'Jesus of Nazareth', as he is usually called, was born, and see the radiance above the little child; we know that in this picture is expressed the power of the Bodhisattva who became Buddha-the power that had formerly streamed to men and, working now upon humanity from the spiritual world, accomplished its greatest deed by shedding its lustre upon the child born at Bethlehem.When the Individuality whose power now rayed down from spiritual heights upon the child of parents belonging to David’s line was born in India long ago — when the Buddha to be was born as Bodhisattva — the whole momentous significance of the events described to-day was revealed to a sage living at that time, and what he beheld in the spiritual world caused that sage--Asita was his name--to go to the royal palace to look for the little Bodhisattva-child. When he saw the babe he foretold his mighty mission as Buddha, predicting, to the father's dismay, that the child would not rule over his kingdom, but would become a Buddha. Then Asita began to weep, and when asked whether misfortune threatened the child, he answered: 'No, I am weeping because I am so old that I shall not live to see the day when this Saviour, the Bodhisattva, will walk the Earth as Buddha!' Asita did not live to see the Bodhisattva become Buddha and there was good reason for his grief at that time. But the same Asita who had seen the Bodhisattva as a babe in the palace of King Suddhodana, was born again as the personality who, in the Gospel of St. Luke, is referred to as Simeon in the scene of the presentation in the temple. Weare told that Simeon was inspired by the Spirit (Luke II, 25-32). Simeon was the same being who, as Asita, had wept because in that incarnation he would not be able to see the Bodhisattva attaining Buddhahood. But it was granted to him to witness the further stage in the development of this Individuality, and having 'the Holy Spirit upon him' he was able to perceive, at the presentation in the temple, the radiance of the glorified Bodhisattva above the head of the Jesus-child of the House of David. Then he could say to himself: 'Now you need no longer grieve, for what you did not live to see at that earlier time, you now behold: the glory of the Saviour shining above this babe. Lord, now let thy servant die in peace!'
With this fuller explication of the stories of the two Jesus's, the Solomon Jesus of St. Matthew and the Nathaniel Jesus of St. Luke, we can now better understand what Steiner tells us in other lectures as he relates how the Ego of the Solomon Jesus enters that of the Nathan Jesus at age twelve. That is the time when the Nathan Jesus begins teaching the elders in the temple in Jerusalem and amazing them with his knowledge. It was the knowledge of Zarathustra recently acquired that he was sharing. At this age the Nathan Jesus experienced the confluence of the two ancient religious streams of Zarathustra and Buddha. With the streaming together of Zarathustra and Buddha into Nathan Jesus, the purified vessel was made ready to receive the Christ spirit.
In the Gospel of St. Luke we are confronted with the pure compassion and love of Buddha translated into action. As Steiner says it:
[page57] Compassion in the highest sense of the word is the ideal of the Buddhist; the aim of one who lives according to the message of the Gospel of St. Luke is to unfold love that acts.
How are we to act if our thoughts are filled with extracts of our previous incarnations that color and alter our every perception of sight, sound, feeling, taste, and smell? How many of our wishes to do things, to see things, are connected with these leftovers from previous lives? Can one live without these extracts?
[page 66] Into everything man encounters in the present cycle of existence there is insinuated what has remained from earlier incarnations as 'desire'. If this element of desire were absent — so said Buddha — man would look out into the world as a divine being; he would let the world work upon him and no longer desire anything more than is granted to him, nor wish his knowledge to exceed what was bestowed upon him by the divine Powers; he would make no distinction between himself and the outer world, but would feel himself membered into it.
The two religious streams from Zarathustra and Buddha were to merge in a Hebrew youth named Jesus who was descended from the Nathaniel line. In preparation for that event, the Hebrew people had to be prepared, and this preparation was by way of a holding back, a retardation of certain elements of development. Steiner states that the parallel development of two streams, one with advanced development and the other with delayed development as a key element in the processes that weave into human evolution. It is difficult to discuss these parallel developments without seeming to value one more highly than the other. In observing the motion of an amoeba, one will notice that its movement takes place by some parts of its single-celled body moving forward and other parts moving back — forward progress is not possible unless some parts move forward and others back. One might think of the forward moving part as the "male" principle and the staying back as the "female" principle: one creating a salient projection and the other a receptacle. Only by the reunion of the projected part and the receptacle can the seeds of new life be created.
[page 114] The Indian people had been taught to realize that men evolve Dharma, the Law of the Soul, from their inmost being; the Hebrew people were trained to obey the Law given them from without.
Thus it was not possible for the insights of Buddha's revelation in inner realization to develop within the Hebrew people until the time of the advent of Christ-principle as shown in the Gospel of St. Luke. Until Christ's time deep revelations appeared only in individuals known as Prophets or Seers such as Elijah, whose being straddled the earth and the spiritual worlds. Elijah was to re-appear united in the body of John the Baptist. When Mary visits John's mother, Elizabeth, while he was in her womb, the Nathan Jesus in her womb had the Nirmanakaya or Spiritual Body of Buddha hovering above it, which awoke the "Ego of John the Baptist into activity," as described in the Gospel.
In The Fifth Gospel Steiner explains how at age twenty-nine the Ego of Zarathustra leaves the body of Nathan Jesus who then wanders into the desert in the direction of John to be baptized. Here he explains why this Ego left:
[page 130] Towards the thirtieth year the Zarathustra-Ego had accomplished its work in the soul of the Nathan-Jesus; the faculties of this soul had been developed to the highest possible degree and the mission of the Zarathustra-Ego was thus fulfilled. Having instilled into the soul all the faculties he had acquired through his own previous incarnations, Zarathustra could declare: 'My task is now accomplished!' — and a moment came when his Ego left the body of the Nathan Jesus.
With the baptism of the Nathan Jesus, the Logos became flesh, and Christ began His teaching. When rebuffed for teaching 'sinners', Christ said, in Steiner's words adapted from Luke V, 36-37:
[page 197] If I were to impart in the old way the entirely new impulse I have come to give to mankind, if a new form of teaching were not to replace the old, it would be as if I were to sew a piece of new cloth on an old garment or pour new wine into old wine-skins.
Some two thousand years later we human are on the brink of another jump in evolution, as Steiner says: "the human heart is demanding the spiritual-scientific elucidation of the Bible." That makes the work of understanding the Bible out of our current evolutionary stage an important task.
[page 151] Those who are interested in the truths of spiritual science today not merely because they stimulate the intellect, but who can be enraptured by and derive living satisfaction from these truths — such men will be the forerunners of those in whom the mastery of the soul and spirit over the physical and material has been achieved.
With the living presence of Christ in us, we can allow to flow from us the Love and Peace in the words of the Gospel of St. Luke as expressed by Rudolf Steiner:
[page 203] The revelation of the spiritual worlds from the Heights and its answering reflection from the hearts of men brings peace to all whose purpose upon the evolving Earth is to unfold good will.
2.) ARJ2: The Twelve Holy Nights and the Spiritual Hierarchies by Sergei O. Prokofieff
The cover art shows a 12th Century Flemish image of Jacob's Ladder and the author of this book shows us how to climb the ladder into the Spiritual World, a ladder whose rungs are the twelve days from Christmas through to the Feast of Epiphany or King's Day on January 6th. The subtitle I chose from the Table of Contents for this review indicates that these twelve nights after Christmas take us on a path from the Man Jesus to the Great Spirit we call Christ. It is a path which takes us completely around the circle of the Zodiac and the Spirits associated with each zodiacal constellation. Rightly understood, we humans have the possibility to understand and traverse in our imagination each of the Spiritual Hierarchies that Christ traversed on His path which culminated with Jesus of Nazareth being baptized by John in the Jordan(1).
Christ descended through the twelve Spiritual Hierarchies to become human, and we humans can begin where we are on Christmas Day and each day we can ascend one rung on the ladder until we arrive at the level from which Christ began His descent. Imagine the twelve signs, the "little animals(2)", arrayed across the heavens. From the realm of the sky marked off by each sign, one level of Spiritual Being worked on the evolution of the human beings over time. We are most familiar with the level of Archangels (Goat) and Angels (Waterman) as they are closest to us humans (Fishes). Christ recapitulated the path of the twelve Spiritual Beings who formed us and our cosmos, coming through the Ram, Bull, Twins, Crab, Lion, Virgin, Scales, Scorpion, Archer, Goat, Waterman, and Fishes. Prokofieff sees the "starry script as a key" for unlocking our individual understanding of what it means to be fully human.
[page 37] Just as man receives life, so does this Being radiate life over our whole cosmos. This is the Being who was able to bring the Great Sacrifice and who is inscribed in the zodiac as the Spirit that sacrifices Himself for our world. As man aspires to the zodiac, so does this Being grant to us His sacrificial offering from the sphere of the Ram, which belongs to Him as do the Scales to man. And as man directs his ego to the Scales, so does this Being let His life stream forth over our sphere of existence as a sacrifice.
This may be too big a bite to take, so let's take a few steps backward and see what position the Scales (Libra) occupy in the rungs of the Spiritual Hierarchy's ladder. We can see the lowest realm of a human's activity is the Fishes (Physical Body) and the highest realm is Virgin (Spirit-Man or Atman ). "There are other Beings for whom man's highest realm of activity represents their lowest," the author tells us.
[page 37] Let us now go in search of these Beings, whose lowest realm of activity is equivalent to that of man in the Scales. If we inscribe man in the zodiac, we find him reaching to the realm of the Scales. The Spirit who belongs with His own being fully to the zodiac, whose forces belong entirely to the zodiac and who reveals Himself in planetary existence only at the lowest level of His activity, designated by the Scales — just as man's lowest member is designated by the Fishes — that Being who, as you may see, imbues our whole universe with life:
To the page 37 Diagram, I have added some helpful markers showing the Angeloi and 7 Light and 5 Dark constellations. Already we find revealed that our planetary cosmos extends from Fishes to Scales and that at the level of Virgin we move into the level of the celestial cosmos as we achieve Spirit-Man or Atman. We can see that the two lowest levels of the Great Spiritual Being overlaps with the two highest levels of us humans in our time in Fishes (the Age of Pisces). When we humans attain Spirit-Man or Atman, we will be able to affect the celestial cosmos (the zodiac) by our actions; we "will be a being that pours forth something that has passed out of the stage of time into the stage of duration, or eternity." (Page 36) The Diagram is like a roadmap to our future evolution as humans and at the same time an itinerary showing how we have arrived to our current location in the evolution of the cosmos: it shows the both the planetary and celestial cosmos, among many other things.
[page 37, 38: Steiner's words, as quoted from GA#102(3)]
Just as a man receives life, so does this Being radiate life over our whole cosmos. This is the Being who was able to bring the Great Sacrifice and who is inscribed in the zodiac as the Spirit that sacrifices Himself for our world. As man aspires to the zodiac, so does this Being grant to us His sacrificial offering from the sphere of the Ram, which belongs to Him as do the Scales to man. And as man directs his ego to the Scales, so does this Being let His life stream forth over our sphere of existence as a sacrifice.
That is why this Being is designated as the sacrificial 'Mystic Lamb', for the Lamb is the same as the Rain; hence the designation of Christ as the sacrificial lamb or ram. Christ has now been characterized for you as belonging to the whole cosmos. His Ego aspires to the Ram, and when His Ego streams upwards to the Ram, He Himself becomes the 'Great Sacrifice'. He relates thus to the whole of mankind, and in a certain way those beings and forces that exist on the Earth are His creations. His abode is, essentially, in the Sun and through His creations He is connected with the Moon and the Earth, while His power lies in the constellation of the Lamb. Thus the forces that enable Him to become the creator of these beings lie in the constellation of the Ram or Lamb. The designation of 'Sacrificial Lamb' or 'Mystic Lamb' is drawn from Heaven itself.
From reading this book of Prokofieff and the GA#102 Steiner, one can come to grasp the meaning of the quote from Steiner which graces Chapter 2 of Part I of this book, "The Starry Script as a Key to Anthroposophical Christology":
It is a provision of the spiritual world that every real spiritual fact appears in the script of the starry heavens.
Rudolf Steiner, 12 December 1910, GA#124
Steiner provides us with a key to unlocking the majestic vision of the celestial realm and making sense of it. Just as the stars provide a navigation aid to seafar for our navigation through the reaches of time and eternity as human beings.
We can best understand the higher spiritual beings and their sacrifices by this crude analogy. Consider an Andrew Carnegie who rose to the top of the business world in his time when steel was king. (Today, the internet is king and we have modern day Carnegies.) What did Carnegie do with all his money? He gave it away in philanthropy. Phil-anthropy means "love of humankind". He sacrificed his money for the good of human kind coming up behind him. The higher up in the world of business one gets, the greater the sacrifice one can make to the good of humanity. One can make no greater sacrifice than Christ made when he came down from the highest hierarchy, the Ram, into the lowest body of the human, a physical body, and then experienced death as a human being, a death every human being experiences, each in an individual way.
Human beings were not always free. As recent as the ancient Greek writer, Homer, humans depended on the thoughts placed into them by the Beings of the spiritual world — we call them Muses, now. It's an amusing name for a very serious process yet in Homer's time. When he wrote down the oral tradition which became his Iliad and Odyssey, he began each with "Speak to me, O Muse, of Achilles/Odysseus" and wrote down their words to him. Mere centuries later, humans had evolved to the point where Virgil could begin his Aeneid with these words, "Of arms and a man, I sing." Virgil was free in a way that Homer had not been.Concomitant with this lack of freedom was an ability to see into the spiritual world the Muses and other spiritual beings which appeared to and spoke to people. Then the forces of our nascent ego began to infiltrate our astral and etheric bodies and a dramatic change about, which finally culminated in Virgil's time, we came to be free for the first time. We can now say, to build upon Descartes, "I think, therefore I am — Free!"
[page 41] As the ego-forces were penetrating the astral and etheric bodies, man was still possessed of a high degree of clairvoyance and in his clairvoyant consciousness he perceived the Archangels guiding his ego in the astral body, and later the Angels guiding it in the etheric body. Only when the ego-forces penetrated through to the physical body did the leadership of the higher Hierarchies begin gradually to withdraw from man so that, by the time ego-consciousness became fully immersed in the physical body, and had completely lost his ancient clairvoyance, man was left to his own devices. This deepest point in the descent of the ego into matter was reached in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch.
We have only been in this fifth post-Atlantean epoch since the year 1453 A.D., and thus, we are able to discern in ancient Greek and Roman writings distinct signs of the progression of humanity's emerging egohood. We are now in the Age of Pisces (Fishes) and soon heading into the Age of Aquarius (Waterman). In Fishes we near the bottom, the deepest point of descent for the Christ Being, and our path upward is laid out in the celestial navigation map shown in the Page 37 Diagram above.
[page 41] Only now, in the Fishes, does man experience to the full his isolation from the world of the Hierarchies — but at the same time also his freedom; for in the physical body his ego is manifested only in the shadowy and insubstantial images of abstract though and, because of their purely reflective character, these have no power to compel.
We can, in our present time, to build upon Descartes, say with confidence, "I think, therefore I am — Free!" Understanding the celestial roadmap of the stars did not compel ancient navigators to sail out of the sight of land, but it allowed the intrepid to do so successfully. Similarly today, understanding the celestial roadmap to our future evolution does not compel us to cast off our physical moorings and move into these higher worlds, but it becomes possible for the courageous to do so, especially with the help of our Anthroposophical Navigator, Rudolf Steiner.
[page 41] On the other hand, thanks to Anthroposophy, there opens up for every individual, just from this point of deepest descent, the possibility of taking his higher development into this own hands and beginning his new, though now fully conscious, ascent into higher worlds. In terms of the starry script this would be seen as the way back from the Fishes through the Waterman, the Goat and so forth, to the Scales and even to the Virgin.
If one counts down six constellations from the top of the Page 37 Diagram, one reaches the space between the Virgin and the Scales. At the mid-point of Atlantean evolution, there were six light signs above that center point and six dark signs below it. As we have progressed into the fifth post-Atlantean epoch, the Scales have moved upward into the light side of center and we now have 7 seven light signs from Ram to Scales, and 5 dark signs from the Scorpion to the Fishes. The Scales sign marks the dividing line between the ascending (light) starry signs above and the descending (dark) planetary signs below — it is the Balance point and thus the origin of the name Scales. It is like the Sun, which is both a member of the starry realm and a member of our planetary realm. It is the lowest constellation which the Lamb, the Cosmic Christ reaches down to and the highest one that human beings can aspire to while maintaining a physical body. Here's what Steiner says about the rising and falling signs:
[page 44: Rudolf Steiner in GA#102, Jan. 27, 1908] When, therefore, you think of the whole Zodiac, you must picture that some of its forces are descending and some are ascending. We think of the forces which are now involved in the ascending line of evolution, collectively, as the Ram, the Bull, the Twins, the Crab, the Lion, the Virgin, and the Scales — because they actually belong to these constellations. These seven constellations comprise the ascending forces. The descending forces are comprised, approximately speaking, in the five constellations of the Scorpion, the Archer, the Goat, the Waterman, and the Fishes. Thus forces rain down from the Zodiac and ascend again: seven constellations of ascending, five of descending forces. The ascending forces also correspond, in man, to the higher members of his being, to his higher, nobler attributes. The forces which are in the descending phase of evolution have first to pass through man and within him to attain to the stage at which they too can become ascending forces.
The seven ascending forces are celestial forces (of the Stars) and the five descending forces are planetary forces (of our Solar System). These five forces descend into us and we have the mission, if we choose to accept it, of transmogrifying these into ascending forces as we progress through human evolution. "And once all earthly humanity has accomplished this step, the whole 'dark zodiac' will finally be changed into a region of Light; while humanity, having completely transformed its own planetary origins, will be able to move on to a purely cosmic, stellar creativity (the seventh stage)." (Page 45)
Rightly understood, our mission is to boldly go where no man has gone before(4), only the Christ Being Himself.
[page 46] For the fundamental mission of Anthroposophy in the world is this: to forge a path leading man from the confines of his earthly existence to a union with the Cosmic Christ Himself. 'Anthroposophy is a path of knowledge that would lead the spiritual in the human being to the spiritual in the universe' (GA#26)
Now we are prepared to grasp the Four Sacrifices of Christ on His passage to Earth where He will become Man.
[page 57] Firstly, the Christ-Being, as Son-principle, enters the circle of the zodiac through the gate of the Ram. As a result, through His sacrificial offering to the whole created cosmos, Christ becomes the 'Great Sacrifice', the 'Mystic Lamb', embracing all the starry Hierarchies as far as the Spirits of Wisdom and to some extent also the Spirits of Movement. This is the first Sacrifice of Christ. Then Christ enters the Sun through the gate of the Virgin, uniting Himself at first only with its 'starry' aspect. Then, gradually penetrating and spiritualizing the whole Sun-sphere with His own Being. He unites with the 'planetary' aspect of the Sun, with the region of the Spirits of Form, and spreads His power over all the planets of our solar system(second Sacrifice). Next, Christ leaves the Sun through the gate of the Scorpion and, approaching ever closer to the Earth, enters the sphere of the Moon, into the circle of the Archangels (third Sacrifice). Finally, He leaves this sphere also, through the gate of the Goat, so as directly to unite, at the Baptism in the Jordan, with the man Jesus of Nazareth(fourth Sacrifice).
To sum up the matter, Christ descends first to the starry aspect of the Sun, then to the planetary aspect of the Sun, then to the Lunar (Moon) sphere, and finally to the Earth sphere during the Baptism in the Jordan. More recently the Archangel Mi-cha-el, which means He who is like God, has become our means as humans of communicating with Christ. Steiner says, "To understand Michael in our time means to find the path to the Logos, Who as Christ lives amongst men on Earth". (Page 108, from GA#26) Christ as revealed by Steiner in GA#194 turns to us and says, "I have not only revealed Myself to you in those days when the Gospels were written — I shall speak to you through my Day-Spirit, Michael, whenever you seek the path to me." (Page 108)
Prokofieff pulls the quotes from Steiner together to explain Michael as a World-Being:
[page 111] 'He journeys as a World-Being' — for his consciousness, which is that of Michael-Christ, embraces the whole hierarchic cosmos — so that he is in a position 'to bring forces down to the Earth' . . . 'From all places in the cosmos', that is, from all twelve zodiacal regions, as a new Revelation of the Cosmic Christ.
With the Twelve Holy Nights approaching us at the end and beginning of every year, we should endeavor to mediate on each of the twelve stages of Christ's descent, beginning with His entry point of the Ram (Christmas Eve), and ending with His lowest descent into Fishes where He entered into the physical body of a human being, Jesus of Nazareth, during his Baptism in the Jordan (Epiphany). This annual meditation can be for us like the meditation of Fifth-Graders in school contemplating the remainder of the Twelve Grades through which they must receive passing grades in order to be ready for Graduation Day. It can spur us on the path from Jesus to Christ.
---------- Footnotes ----------
Footnote 1.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
Wikipedia says, "Originally the baptism of Christ was celebrated on Epiphany." Epiphany is celebrated on January 6 each year, the day after the Twelfth Holy Night.
Footnote 2.Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
The word "zodiac" in Greek means "little animals".
Footnote 3.Return to text directly before Footnote 3.
At the time I began writing this review, I had not read GA#102 which contains 12 lectures Steiner gave in Berlin in 1908, so I began reading the first several lectures to gain some background detail to what Prokofieff is discussing in this book. I heartily recommend those lectures to my Good Readers and expect to review those lectures soon. The GA#102 book will be titled, The Influence of Spiritual Beings on Man, and the link at left will point to my review when it is completed.
Footnote 4.Return to text directly before Footnote 4.
Gene Roddenberry likely penned, or at least inspired, these opening words for each episode of the original Star Trek series, and the voyages of the crew of the Enterprise reflects upon, but pales in comparison with, the cosmic proportions of the voyage each one of us is embarked upon, whether we know it or not. Given the choice, is it not better to know?
3.) ARJ2: The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, Vol. 3 by Henry David ThoreauNote: This Thoreau Journal Volume 3 Review was published in an early DIGESTWORLD ISSUE, No.37, June, 2003, but only as a short blurb of a few paragraphs (which are worth reading because they contain sharp comments by Kevin Dann who was working on a Thoreau biography at the time). Below is the entire Thoreau Volume 3 review in the hope it will encourage you to read the other 13 Thoreau Journal Reviews (linked below the review).
Reading from Thoreau's journal can have interesting effects on one. One morning I came into the living room where Del was working at a table. It was a time when I had been reading from the third volume of Thoreau's Journal dealing with the last half of Dec, 1851. The influence of Thoreau's way of thinking and speaking must have come over me because, as I stood in front of the coffee pot to pour myself a fresh cup of coffee, I spoke these words which elicited a grunt of enjoyment from Del:
"Now, As such,
I raise my body up
And pour myself a second cup."
In his introduction to this volume, Walter Harding writes:
[page vii] For some unknown reason Thoreau seems to have done less professional writing this winter, at least in his journal, although we do come across a few work pieces for "Walking," " Wild Apples," "Life without Principle," and "Yankee in Canada." Surprisingly, perhaps, we find him writing at some length on the craft of writing and on a journal as a work of art. Among the most memorable pieces in the volume is a moving account of the felling of a magnificent pine tree on Fair Haven's shore and a witty and delightful account of an adventure with a woodchuck.
There you have a synopsis of the eclectic nature of Thoreau's journal — you never know what the next bend in the path or the page will bring to light in his words. You simply walk along with Thoreau as his constant companion, just you and him in the woods when his frequent companions, Ellery Channing (C.) and his pup, are absent. He looks, talks about what he sees, and you look there also. In these walks, you walk alongside Thoreau as a blind companion, whose only vistas are those of the imaginations that your able guide conjures up in you.
[page 5] The poet must keep himself unstained and aloof. Let him perambulate the bounds of Imagination's provinces, the realms of faery, and not the insignificant boundaries of towns. The excursions of the imagination are so boundless, the limits of towns are so petty.
One of the joys of Thoreau's walks we can no longer enjoy because the instrument of the melody has been denuded of its strings, and the frets and tensioners have been dismantled. I speak of the telegraph harp — Thoreau's phrase for the music emitted by the wires strung between telegraph poles. I will accumulate for you a collection of his words on the telegraph harp from this volume below.
[page 11] Sept. 22. Yesterday and to-day the stronger winds of autumn have begun to blow, and the telegraph harp has sounded loudly. I heard it especially in the Deep Cut this afternoon, the tone varying with the tension of different parts of the wire. The sound proceeds from near the posts, where the vibration is apparently more rapid.I put my ear to one of the posts, and it seemed to me as if every pore of the wood was filled with music, labored with the strain, — as if every fibre was affected and being seasoned or timed, rearranged according to a new and more harmonious law. Every swell and change or inflection of tone pervaded and seemed to proceed from the wood, the divine tree or wood, as if its very substance was transmuted. What a recipe for preserving wood, perchance, — to keep it from rotting, — to fill its pores with music! How this wild tree from the forest, stripped of its bark and set up here, rejoices to transmit this music! When no music proceeds from the wire, on applying my ear I hear the hum within the entrails of the wood, — the oracular tree acquiring, accumulating the prophetic fury.
To read this journal is to learn how Thoreau acquired his prophetic fury: by walking, watching, and listening, even at times with his ear placed against the stripped trees that acted as the frets of the telegraph harp. Read next how his imagination takes him and us far from the petty limits of his time and town, and ours. (Continued from above quote.)
[page 11, 12] Sept. 22. The resounding wood! how much the ancients would have made of it! To have a harp on so great a scale, girdling the very earth, and played on by the winds of every latitude and longitude, and that harp were, as it were, the manifest blessing of heaven on a work of man's! Shall we not add a tenth Muse to the immortal Nine? And that the invention thus divinely honored and distinguished — on which the Muse has condescended to smile — is this magic medium of communication for mankind!
The telegraph was the Internet of Thoreau's time. It interconnected the world in a way never dreamed to be possible before. Instantaneous communication between far flung realms became possible. It occurs to me that Samuel Morse and others whose inventions led to the marvelous telegraph never envisioned their work as being put to use as a musical instrument! (Continued from above quote.)
[page 12] Sept. 22. To read that the ancients stretched a wire round the earth, attaching it to the trees of the forest, by which they sent messages by one named Electricity, father of Lightning and Magnetism, swifter than Mercury, the stern commands of war and news of peace, and that the winds caused this wire to vibrate so that it emitted harp-like and æolian music in all the lands through which it passed, as if to express the satisfaction of the gods in this invention. Yet this is fact, and we have attributed the invention to no god.
I would think these above passages alone would be ample answer to anyone who would ask the question, "Why should I read Thoreau's journal?" The fourteen volume set can be daunting to even begin reading, but compare that to the task of the first men to string a wire between the first telegraph poles — would they have even attempted it if they thought long on the job ahead of them to wire the entire Earth?
[page 71] Oct. 14. There was but little wind this morning, yet I heard the telegraph harp. It does not require a strong wind to wake its strings; it depends more on its direction and the tension of the wire apparently. A gentle but steady breeze will often call forth its finest strains, when a strong but unsteady gale, blowing at the wrong angle withal, fails to elicits any melodious sound.
I could not help but think of the different effect people have on others: the gentle but steady person directing their thoughts to another will call forth the other's finest music, but a blustery person, bellowing one way and then another, coming from the wrong angle, will fail to make any harmonious impression of the other. Thoreau is definitely of the former sort.
[page 247] Jan. 29. I am often reminded that if I had bestowed on me the wealth of Croesus, my aims must still be the same and my means essentially the same. . . . The snow is nearly gone from the railroad causeway. Few are the days when the telegraph harp rises into a pure, clear melody. Though the wind may blow strong or soft, in this or that direction, naught will you hear but a low hum or murmur, or even a buzzing sound; but at length, when some undistinguishable zephyr blows, when the conditions not easy to be detected arrive, it suddenly and unexpectedly rises into melody, as if a god had touched it, and fortunate is the walker who chances to be within hearing.
And again near the end of this volume, he is transported into thoughts of Greek poetry and the gods by the sounds of the telegraph harp. It is sad to think that, in a short 150 years, an invention of man that brought this man so much delight has disappeared from the Earth.
[page 342] March 9. When I hear the telegraph harp, I think I must read the Greek poets. This sound is like a brighter color, red, or blue, or green, where all was dull white or black. It prophesies finer senses, a finer life, a golden age. It is the poetry of the railroad, the heroic and poetic thoughts which the Irish laborers had at their toil now got expression, — that which has made the world mad so long. Or is it the gods expressing their delight at this invention?
Such was Thoreau's descriptive ability that he could even conjure up for us readers a vision of deep darkness.
[page 14] Sept 24. Last night was exceedingly dark. I could not see the sidewalk in the street, but only felt it with my feet. I was obliged to whistle to warn travellers of my nearness, and then I would suddenly find myself abreast of them without having seen anything or heard their footsteps. It was cloudy and rainy weather combined with the absence of the moon. So dark a night that, if a farmer who had come in a-shopping had spent but an hour after sunset in some shop, he might find himself a prisoner in the village for the night. Thick darkness.
The verb 'realize' in the passage below is obviously based on the idea of to 'make real' — yet notice in this next passage of Thoreau's that his usage seems un-natural to our ear, but closer to the original meaning of the word. Today it appears as the fourth most common definition in my Cassel's Concise dictionary, "to present as real."
[page 41] Oct. 4. Minott is, perhaps, the most poetical farmer — who most realizes to me the poetry of the farmer's life — that I know.
Thoreau seems content to walk abroad within the limits of his small town, Concord, and its outskirts, to take in the sights of the day, of the season, of the year, and requires little more than that. If we doubt this to be true, his very words will betray this so.
[page 58] Found another gouge on Dennis's Hill. To have found the Indian gouges and tasted sweet acorns, — is it not enough for one afternoon?
Unless one has walked the woods of New England during the fall of the year, one will not know the pleasures of wild apples. These never make it to stores because the gatherer thinks them not worth the picking. But to a hungry walker, ah, that's another story.
[page 83] Oct. 31. The wild apples are now getting palatable. I find a few left on distant trees, which the farmer thinks it not worth his while to gather. He thinks that he has better in his barrels, but he is mistaken, unless he has a walker's appetite and imagination, neither of which can he have.
Thoreau tells us that "a man is not capable of reporting truth; he must be drenched and saturated with it first." In other words, truth is not something that can pass through us untouched as a seed passes through a chickadee as it flies and starts a new plant.
[page 85, 86] Nov. 1. First of all a man must see, before he can say. Statements are made but partially. Things are said with reference to certain conventions or existing institutions, not absolutely. A fact truly and absolutely stated is taken out of the region of common sense and acquires a mythologic or universal significance. Say it and have done with it. Express it without expressing yourself. See not with the eye of science, which is barren, nor of youthful poetry, which is impotent. But taste the world and digest it. It would seem as if things got said but rarely and by chance. As you see, so at length will you say. When facts are seen superficially, they are seen as they lie in relation to certain institutions, perchance. But I would have them expressed as more deeply seen, with deeper references; so that the hearer or reader cannot recognize them or apprehend their significance from the platform of common life, but it will be necessary that he be in a sense translated in order to understand them; when the truth respecting his things shall naturally exhale from a man like the odor of the muskrat from the coat of the trapper.
The things we can learn from these deep words only the heart can know. And Thoreau's words run deep, like the perennial native flowering plants of his New England they sink deep into the sand, a sand in which he says his bones will gladly lie.
[page 97] Nov. 8. When I saw the bare sand at Cochituate I felt my relation to the soil. These are my sands not yet run out. Not yet will the fates turn the glass. This air have I title to taint with my decay. In this clean sand my bones will gladly lie. Like Viola pedata (See photo above), I shall be ready to bloom again here in my Indian summer days. Here ever springing, never dying, with perennial root I stand; for the winter of the land is warm to me. While the flower blooms again as in the spring, shall I pine? When I see her sands exposed, thrown up from beneath the surface, it touches me inwardly, it reminds me of my origin; for I am such a plant, so native to New England, methinks, as springs from the sand cast up from below.
In this next passage Thoreau compares himself with Ellery Channing who sometimes takes out his notebook and tries in vain to write as Thoreau does. Eventually he gives up and draws a sketch of the landscape or something. He tells Thoreau that he will leave the facts to him, and Thoreau responds in his journal thus:
[page 99] Nov. 9. I, too, would fain set down something beside facts. Facts should only be as the frame to my pictures; they should be material to the mythology which I am writing; not facts to assist men to make money, farmers to farm profitably, in any common sense; facts to tell who I am, and where I have been or what I have thought: as now the bell rings for evening meeting, and its volumes of sound, like smoke which rises from where a cannon is fired, make the tent in which I dwell.
The idea of a bell creating a tent over one's head may sound far-fetched, but bells were placed in medieval churches because their sound chased away demons from the area of the town, placing, as it were, an impenetrable tent protecting the church and its parishioners during Holy Mass and during times of great crisis such as the death of a beloved leader like FDR.
My son and his wife named their first two children after natural objects; the son, Walden, and the daughter, Sierra. Thoreau quotes Stoever's "Life of Linnæus" saying that it is a "custom not unfrequent in Sweden, to take fresh appellations from natural objects." Recently I learned that the Basque people chose their surnames from objects around the home and farm. My surname, Matherne, breaks down into M - Mister, at - Gate, and ern - Dairy, in other words, a Mister at the Gate to the Dairy. This breakdown of my surname indicates that my original "Matern" ancestors were not Germans as I had thought, but instead Basques who had earlier migrated to Rosenheim, Germany.
Thoreau worked from time to time as a surveyor to earn some money, but he always longed to be back home with his thoughts. In this next passage we can listen to a man wax lyrical about his passion for thinking as he returns home from almost thirty days of surveying, "living coarsely," as he called it.
[page 133] Dec. 12. . . . and to-night, for the first time, [I] had made a fire in my chamber and endeavored to return to myself. I wished to ally myself to the powers that rule the universe. I wished to dive into some deep stream of thoughtful and devoted life, which meandered through retired and fertile meadows far from towns. I wished to do again, or for once, things quite congenial to my highest inmost and most sacred nature, to lurk in crystalline thought like the trout under verdurous banks, where stray mankind should only see my bubble come to the surface. I wished to live, ah! as far away as a man can think. I wished for leisure and quiet to let my life flow in its proper channels, with its proper currents . . . I am thinking by what long discipline and at what cost a man learns to speak simply at last.
As I read this next passage I recall when earlier Thoreau admonished the reader not to "see with the eye of science, which is barren." Here he tells us how we are to see if we are to see truly — it is a spiritual seeing, a spiritual eye that assists the natural eye.
[page 137] Dec. 13. We do, indeed, see through and through each other, through the veil of the body, and see the real form and character in spite of the garment. Any coarseness or tenderness is seen and felt under whatever garb. How nakedly men appear to us! for the spiritual assists the natural eye.
In the next passage is another curious usage of an otherwise familiar word. If I were to give you the definition of "improve" as meaning "to increase the value of," you would agree with that definition, but given that, notice how strangely its usage in the following passage falls on the ear:
[page 140] Dec. 17. Improve every opportunity to express yourself in writing, as if it were your last.
Taking Thoreau's advice, I have added some thoughts to this review as I published it in my DIGESTWORLD Issue No. 13c.
Thoreau, when he was alone, like it was said of Thomas Jefferson, was in the best of company: to him, to be poor in company was to be rich in spirit. In these next two passages he speaks out of a hundred and fifty plus years in the past to express something that I have observed and felt in my own life.
[page 142] Dec. 18. My acquaintances will sometimes wonder why I will impoverish myself by living aloof from this or that company, but greater would be the impoverishment if I should associate with them.
[page 250] Jan. 30 Friday. I feel as if I were gradually parting company with certain friends, just as I perceive familiar objects successively disappear when I am leaving my native town in the cars.
Thoreau measured a pine tree that was to be felled: it was four feet in diameter and about one hundred feet long. This was truly an old growth tree during a time when old growth trees could be chopped at will on one's own property; no laws fettered or stopped the choice of the owner of such an old growth tree to chop it away and leave "the space it occupied in upper air vacant for the next two centuries." It is a curious anomaly 150 years later that the owner of an old growth tree is barred by law from killing it, but the owner of a new growth human being in her womb is not barred by law from killing it. How long will the space occupied in upper air remain vacant where that human being would else have lived?
When I set forth to write down my thoughts and publish them, I settled upon the name Good Mountain Press for the publishing company. I live in southern Louisiana where the nearest mountain is a long day's drive away, almost 500 miles, the land here is as flat as the water-filled wetlands and marshes that surrounds it. But I have seen mountains, the Great Smokies, the high Sierras, and on any summer day, a mountain of greater majesty than any of those fabled mountains may float near to where I sit writing at this minute. These are the mountains I call the "good mountains" — they bring panoramic vistas of white — and if they float overhead, in the heat of the sunshine of summer, they act as a sunshade for the brightest day, they pour cooling and refreshing water on the grass and gardens, all the while electrifying and sparkling the air into as bracing a mixture as any mountaintop air can be.Thoreau knew also about good mountains and writes of them in this next passage.
[page 181] Jan. 11. What need to travel? There are no sierras equal to the clouds in the sunset sky. And are not these substantial enough? In a low or level country, perchance, the forms of the clouds supply the place of mountains and precipices to the eye, the grosser atmosphere makes a mountainous country in the sky.
Rudolf Steiner said that the brain is the manure of the human being, where the excrement of our thought activity resides. Also winter is the time for harvesting thoughts stored up in the summer. Notice how this resonates with Thoreau's thoughts on the similarity between the work of the farmer and the scholar.
[page 207] Jan. 20. The farmers nowadays can cart out peat and muck over the frozen meadows. Somewhat analogous, methinks, the scholar does; drives in with tight-braced energy and winter cheer on to his now firm meadowy grounds, and carts, hauls off, the virgin loads of fertilizing soil which he threw up in the warm, soft summer. . . . When I see the farmer driving into his barn-yard with a load of muck, whose blackness contrasts strangely with the white snow, I have the thoughts which I have described. He is doing like myself. My barn-yard is my journal.
Farther down, he talks of free flowing thoughts in winter time and compares ideas to fishes.
[page 232] Jan. 26. When the thermometer is down to 20 degrees, the streams of thought tinkle underneath like the rivers under the ice. Thought like the ocean is nearly of one temperature. Ideas, — are they the fishes of thought?
How did the Jesuit missionaries convert so many native Americans to their faith? Was it their message or their manner that did the trick? Thoreau leaves us no doubt that for him it was their manner: their sincerity.
[page 218] Jan. 22. That in the preaching or mission of the Jesuits in Canada which converted the Indians was their sincerity. They could not be suspected of sinister motives. The savages were not poor observers and reasoners. The priests were, therefore, sure of success, for they had paid the price of it. We resist no true invitations; they are irresistible.
Once more Thoreau offers advice to writers, "Use and commit to life what you cannot commit to memory."
[page 221] Jan. 24. If thou art a writer, write as if thy time were short, for it is indeed short at the longest. Improve each occasion when thy soul is reached. Drain the cup of inspiration to its last dregs.
To go off half-cocked is such a familiar phrase, one forgets that it is a metaphor, in fact, a flintlock metaphor. In speaking of men he called the salt of the earth, Thoreau says, "They did not go off at half-cock."
In this next passage he wonders aloud if writing in a journal were not a better form than essays. At least in the journal, one encounters the ideas in their natural environment, the kind of environment Thoreau wandered in, rather than in the potted plant greenhouses of essays.
[page 239] Jan. 27. I do not know but thoughts written down thus in a journal might be printed in the same form with greater advantage than if the related ones were brought together into separate essays. They are now allied to life, and are seen by the reader not to be far-fetched. It is more simple, less artful. I feel that in the other case I should have no proper frame for my sketches. Mere facts and names and dates communicate more than we suspect. Whether the flower looks better in the nosegay than in the meadow where it grew and we had to wet our feet to get it! Is the scholastic air any advantage?
This resonates with me as I consider whether, at some point, the ideas I have written into "A Reader's Journal" might be better sprinkled into assorted essays or books. Each of my reviews I see as a journey into understanding and I endeavor to live my life as someone on a journey, eating hasty pudding and journey cake, quenching my thirst at the nearest brook, and being waited on by my simple desires.
[page 240] Jan. 28. Our life should be so active and progressive as to be a journey. Our meals should all be of journey-cake and hasty pudding. We should be more alert, see the sun rise, not keep fashionable hours, enter a house, our own house, as a khan, a caravansary. At noon I did not dine; I ate my journey-cake. I quenched my thirst at a spring or a brook. As I sat at the table the hospitality was so perfect and the repast so sumptuous that I seemed to be breaking my fast upon a bank in the midst of an arduous journey, that the water seemed to be a living spring, the napkins grass, the conversation free as the winds; and the servants that waited on us were our simple desires.
When I came to write my first book, it was a book of poetry, and I gave it the name, "Flowers of Shanidar" after the remnants of flowers found in the Shanidar cave in northern Iraq some 600 centuries later in the form of pollen grains. Each chapter was named after a flower: rose mallows, hollyhocks, shamrocks, hyacinths, and violets. The first passage below talks of the poetry of flowers, the second two of the prose of flowers.
[page 252] Jan. 30. But after all, where is the flower lore? for the first book, and not the last, should contain the poetry of flowers.
[page 257] Jan. 31. Botanies, instead of being the poetry, are the prose, of flowers. I do not mean to underrate Linnæus's admirable nomenclature, much of which is itself poetry.
[page 281] Feb. 6. The artificial system has been very properly called the dictionary, and the natural method, the grammar of the science of botany, by botanists themselves. But are we to have nothing but grammars and dictionaries in this literature? Are there no works written in the language of flowers?
One of the things I hated about high school and college English courses was having to write on chosen themes. The next passage by Thoreau attracts me very much and I yield willingly and often to its invitation:
[page 253] Jan. 30. Do nothing merely out of good resolution. Discipline yourself only to yield to love; suffer yourself to be attracted. It is in vain to write on chosen themes. We must wait till they have kindled a flame in our minds. There must be the copulating and generating force of love behind our every effort destined to be successful. The cold resolve gives birth to, begets, nothing. The theme that seeks me, not I it. The poet's relation to his theme is the relation of lovers.
One cannot forget the state of technology of a time when reading an author of the distant past. Living in a time before snapshots could capture the evanescent, the quick, and the moving aspects of a scene, Thoreau talks of oxen as being good for a picture, which in his time, meant a hand-drawn sketch, for which stillness is required.
[page 253] Jan. 30. A pretty forest scene, seeing oxen, so patient and stationary, good for pictures, standing on ice, — a piece of still life.
In this next passage he offers writerly advice, again using a farmer metaphor to drive home his point. This is reminiscent of the adage, "Strike while the iron is hot." — a blacksmith metaphor, no doubt, as iron cannot be shaped by striking with a hammer unless it is glowing hot.
[page 293] Feb. 10. Write while the heat is in you. When the farmer burns a hole in his yoke, he carries the hot iron quickly from the fire to the wood, for every moment it is less effectual to penetrate (pierce) it. It must be used instantly, or it is useless. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.
He tells us that his surname "Thoreau" apparently comes from "Thorer" which was one of the most popular names of the Northmen. He goes on to do a brief genealogy, from which he decides that from one branch of his family were descended all the kings of England and from the other branch, himself.
[page 304] Feb. 14. Perhaps I am descended from the Northman named "Thorer the Dog-footed." Thorer Hund — "he was the most powerful man in the North" — to judge from his name belonged to the same family.
Recently I heard a Cajun story in which a hunter, out of bullets, fired a peach stone at an alligator which swam off into the swamp. When the hunter returned years later, he plucked a peach from a tree near the same spot, and as he ate the peach, the tree swam off into the swamp. Note the similarity to the story in the next passage.
[page 306] Feb. 16. I should say that the horned animals approached nearer to the vegetable. The deer that run in the woods, as the moose for instance, carry perfect trees on their heads. The French call them bois. No wonder there are fables of centaurs and the like. No wonder there is a story of a hunter who, when his bullets failed, fired cherry-stones into the heads of his game and so trees sprouted out of them, and the hunter refreshed himself with the cherries.
This next story tells of a fabled dice game with an incredible ending. It indicates the result of enormous will-power in a man who would not give up, no matter what the odds against him.
[page 315] Feb. 20. Fate will go all lengths to aid her protégés. When the Swedish king and Olaf, king of Norway, threw for lots for the possession of a farm, "the Swedish king threw two sixes, and said King Olaf need scarcely throw. He replied, while shaking the dice in his hand, 'Although there be two sixes on the dice, it would be easy, sire, for God Almighty to let them turn up in my favor.' Then he threw, and had sixes also. Now the Swedish king threw again, and had again two sixes. Olaf, king of Norway, then threw, and had six upon one dice, and the other split in two, so as to make seven eyes in all upon it; and the farm was adjudged to the king of Norway."
Thoreau lived during a time when Indians had only recently disappeared from the New England scene, and yet he felt their presence constantly as he walked abroad.
[page 334] March 4. I love that the rocks should appear to have some spots of blood on them, Indian blood at the least; to be convinced that the earth has been crowded with men, living, enjoying, suffering, that races passed away have stained the rocks with their blood, that the mould I tread on has been animated, aye, humanized. I am the more at home. I farm the dust of my ancestors, though the chemist's analysis may not detect it. I go forth to redeem the meadows they have become. I compel them to take refuge in turnips.
He was a scholar of lichens, those fungi that attach themselves to the outside of tree trunks and rocks. He mused about one study of nature that did not require one to leave one's home to achieve.
[page 340] March 7. The student of lichens has his objects of study brought to his study on his fuel without any extra expense.
On a spring day, he throws off his overcoat and goes out to find the air full of bluebirds. "The bluebird carries the sky upon his back." He sings a paean to a Spring day, to the Ides of March.
[page 350, 351] March 15. My life partakes of infinity. The air is as deep as our natures. Is the drawing in of this vital air attended with not more glorious results than I witness? The air is a velvet cushion against which I press my ear. I go forth to make new demands on life. I wish to begin this summer well; to do something in it worthy of it and of me; to transcend my daily routine and that of my townsmen; to have my immortality now, that it be in the quality of my daily life; to pay the greatest price, the greatest tax, of any man in Concord, and enjoy the most!! I will give all I am for my nobility. I will pay all my days for my success. I pray that the life of this spring and summer may lie fair in my memory.
In this next piece, he likens a true farmer to a lichen, both of which leave a more cultivatable soil behind them than they first found when they arrived at a place.
[page 352] March 15. Most men find farming unprofitable; but there are some who can get their living anywhere. If you set them down on a bare rock they will thrive there. The true farmer is to those who come after him and take the benefit of his improvements, like the lichen which plants itself on the bare rock, and grows and thrives and cracks it and makes a vegetable mould, to the garden vegetable which grows in it.
In his description of a book by Gilpin, Thoreau seems to be writing about his own journal, enjoying in Gilpin what he most enjoys creating in his own writing: a book that reads like a walk in the woods.
[page 370] April 1. Gilpin's "Forest Scenery" is a pleasing book, so moderate, temperate, graceful, roomy, like a gladed wood; not condensed; with a certain religion in its manners and respect for the good of the past, rare in more recent books; and it is grateful to read after them. Somewhat spare indeed in the thoughts as in the sentences. Some of the cool wind in the copses converted into grammatical and graceful sentences, without heat. Not one of those humors come to a head which some modern books are, but some of the natural surface of a healthy mind.
When I lived for several years in California, one of the things I missed most about my native Louisiana was the omnipresent clouds in the sky. I heard a story of a class in a high rise building on the UCLA campus that one night rushed to the windows because there was a rare thunderstorm outside, the kind that any summer afternoon might bring to the other side of the walls of this room in which I type these words. Ah, clouds! When every day is clear and dry, how can one enjoy a picnic when the delight of having a beautiful day for it is taken away by the monotonousness of the local atmosphere?
[page 387] April 3. The clouds are important to-day for their shadows. If it were not for them, the landscape would be one glare of light without variety. By their motion they still more vary the scene.
Before I had read this next passage I suppose I thought that it was the outside skin of the pig that was used for making footballs, which led to our coining of the word "pigskin" for football in the States. I see from Thoreau a deeper meaning: pigskin in the sense of a wine skin.
[page 401] April 11. Before my neighbor's pig is cold his boys have made a football of his bladder! So goes the world. No matter how much the boy snivels at first, he kicks the bladder with ecstasy.
Thoreau observed that it was possible for him to thrust his finger into many of the large stones of the railroad bridge's foundation which had turned into soft soil. He comments:
[page 406] April 12. A geologist is needed to tell you whether your stones will continue stones and not turn to earth.
I was reading this next passage in my kitchen, a little more cool than comfortable, and I had to agree with Thoreau's thoughts here as a storm raged outside his windows.
[page 408] April 13. But it is good now to stay in the house and read and write. We do not now go wandering all abroad and dissipated, but the imprisoning storm condenses our thoughts. I can hear the clock tick as not in pleasant weather. My life is enriched. I love to hear the wind howl. I have a fancy for sitting with my book or paper in some mean and apparently unfavorable place, in the kitchen, for instance, where the work is going on, rather a little cold than comfortable. My thoughts are of more worth, in such places than they would be in a well furnished and warmed studio.
In the movie, "The Deerhunter", there is a climactic scene in which Robert DeNiro has stalked for hours a large stag and finally has this magnificent five or six-year-old buck, a hart, in his telescopic sights and is unable to pull the trigger on such much beauty and majesty. He lets him go. That buck in the time of kings would have been designated a hart-royal and no one in the kingdom would have been allowed to kill him. It is one of the promises of the United States of America that every citizen is born a hart-royal and would it be so that they were conceived in liberty also.
[page 414] April 15. Gilpin says of the stags in the New Forest, if one "be hunted by the king, and escape; or have his life given him for the sport he has afforded, he becomes from thence forth a hart-royal. — If he be hunted out of the forest, and there escape, the king hath sometimes honoured him with a royal proclamation; the purport of which is, to forbid any one to molest him, that he may have free liberty of returning to his forest. From that time on he becomes a hart-royal proclaimed."
One of the frequent questions I get as a writer is, "What books have you published?" It is as though writing without being in print is some sort of a vacant existence, which well-meaning friends expect you to fill with books in printed form to satisfy them.
[page 420] April 15. How many there are who advise you to print! How few who advise you to lead a more interior life! In the one case there is all the world to advise you, in the other there is none to advise you but yourself. Nobody ever advised me not to print but myself. The public persuades the author to print, as the meadow invites the brook to fall into it. Only he can be trusted with gifts who can present a face of bronze to expectations.
Coming upon the idea of another person does not have the same effect as having an idea drop into one out of the blue. The former is like a gift of second hand shoes which may pinch or wear out quickly; the latter like a brand-new suit that tingles the skin when one first wears it.
[page 441, 442] April 19. I think that no man ever takes an original idea, or detects a principle, without experiencing an inexpressible, as quite infinite and sane, pleasure, which advertises him of the dignity of the truth that he has perceived.
The friends that advise one to print live on the surface themselves and cannot understand one who chooses to live the interior life. Thoreau pins them to his specimen board in this next passage:
[page 460] April 24. I know two species of men. The vast majority are men of society. They live on the surface; they are interested in the transient and fleeting; they are like driftwood on the flood. They ask forever and only the news, the froth and scum of the eternal sea. They use policy; they make up for want of matter with manner. They have many letters to write. Wealth and the approbation of men is to them success. The enterprises of society are something final and sufficing for them. The world advises them, and they listen to its advice. They live wholly the evanescent life, creatures of circumstance. It is of prime importance to them who is the president of the day. They have no knowledge of truth, but by an exceedingly dim and transient instinct, which stereotypes the church and some other institutions.
Below I have selected a number of short quotations from the journal which mostly stand on their own.
"The best manners is nakedness of manners." page 256
"Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul." page 258
"In the East, women religiously conceal that they have faces; in the West, that they have legs. In both cases they make it evident that they have but little brains." page 258
"The mason asks but a narrow shelf to spring his brick from; man requires only an infinitely narrower one to spring the arch of faith from." page 259
"If I could command the wealth of all the worlds by lifting my finger, I would not pay such a price for it." page 266
About the gold rush pioneers of California, he said:
"Did God direct us so to get our living, digging where we never planted, — and He would perchance reward us with lumps of gold? Page 267
Here he puts his finger on what I most disliked about California — the lack of clouds:
"The sky must have a few clouds, as the mind a few moods; nor is the evening less serene for them." page 272
"The forcible writer stands bodily behind his words with his experience. He does not make books out of books, but he has been there in person. Page 276
"Who will not confess that the necessity to get money has helped to ripen some of his schemes?" Page 282
"I know [gold] is very malleable, but not so malleable as wit. A grain of it will gild a great surface, but not much as a grain of wisdom." page 291
"If you would be wise, learn science and then forget it." page 456
To close out this review, I have chosen a passage which shows us the essence of Thoreau, how he inspects the world from all angles, high and low, round and about, and then writes of the world from all those angles so as to represent the truth "as roundly and solidly as a statue" so that we understand the world from all sides.
[page 464] April 25. It is related that Giorgio Barbarelli, Titian's friend, defending painting against the charge of being an incomplete art because it could exhibit but one side of a picture, laid a wager with some sculptor that he could represent the back, face, and both profiles of a man, without the spectator being obliged to walk round it as a statue. He painted "a warrior, who, having his back turned towards the spectator, stood looking at himself in a fountain, in whose limpid waters his full front figure was reflected. At the left of the warrior was suspended his suit of polished steel armor, in which was mirrored, with exact fidelity, the whole of his left side. At the right was painted a looking-glass, which reflected that side;" and thus he won the wager. So I would fain represent some truths as roundly and solidly as a statue, or as completely and in all their relations as Barbarelli his warrior, — so that you may see round them.
For this DIGESTWORLD Issue, I'd like to close this review with Dr. Kevin Dann's ascerbic comments, by which I mean he does a good job of "expressing sharp criticism in an entertaining and clever way". Below is the DW#37 Blurb quoted in purple prose:
. . .
I received these comments about this review from Kevin Dann, a good friend who was working on a biography of Thoreau at that time, back in 2003. He may be still working on it, but he is a perfectionist who inspects the world from all angles, high and low, round and about (to quote myself). Kevin's blurb on my review hit a 9 on my Richter Scale of Blurbdom and I had to send my Richter Scale out for repair. Thanks a lot, Kevin.
"The good Venetian painter Barbarelli's got nothing on you, for you've done with Thoreau what he did with that warrior — sailed right round and circumnavigated him while standing still! I love whenever Henry says 'I would fain' for there is something so simultaneously humble and confident about 'fain'— 'fain' my eye, for the fellow has the gift of the Word to such a high degree that even should he fail to compass some thought or fact, his words will not fail him.
"I am down to only three more journals to read, and this one is one of them, so all the quotes and your observations came to me fresh as — well, since my wild lawn is about to erupt into a Chrysantemum vulgaris riot , I'll go ahead and say it — a daisy."
To circumnavigate Thoreau at your leisure, click on the links below as soon as you've packed your sailing trunk.
To Read Other Volumes of Thoreau's Journals:
Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4, Vol. 5, Vol. 6, Vol. 7
Vol. 8, Vol. 9, Vol. 10, Vol. 11, Vol. 12, Vol. 13, Vol. 14
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I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. Keep reading, folks! As I like to remind you, to obtain more information on what's in these books, buy and read the books — for less information, read the reviews.
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= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =In this section I like to comment on events in the world, in my life, and in my readings which have come up during the month. These are things I might have shared with you in person, if we had had the opportunity to coverse during the month. If we did, then you may recognize my words. If I say some things here which upset you, rest assured that you may skip over these for the very reason that I would likely have not brought up the subject to spoil our time together in person.1. Padre Filius receives a Letter from DISH this Month:
Padre Filius, the cartoon character created by your intrepid editor and would-be cartoonist, will appear from time to time in this Section of the Digest to share with us some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.
This month the good Padre receives a special Message for Del's Mom, Doris (1923-2010):
2. Comments from Readers:
NOTE: I love hearing from all my Good Readers and including your missives here (slightly edited).
If you prefer any comments or photos you send to be private, simply say so and they will not be published.
- EMAIL from Tess re Successful Speed Traces:
Subject: Liberation from doyles
Speed Trace, Doyletics process — WOW, Bobby. I have been very busy relasing doyals.
Thanks, thanks, thanks!!!
This process is the gift of liberation!!!
Thanks so much! Tess
Hooray for you, Tess!
I also loved your creative typography “doyals” — sounds like royals and loyals!
Stay in touch. Let me know if any of the doyles you traced show up by their absence in some memorable way (like, “Oh, I would have had _____ just now, but for a speed trace of that doyle.”) and let me know if I might share your experience with my readers.
- EMAIL from Betty Chowning in Louisville, KY:
Another "full" month of news and pictures, sayings and real life stories! I look forward to your digest each month, absolutely loving the nature pictures of plants/wildlife. You capture the best "story telling" pictures. It is wonderful that you and Del can just pack up and go to CA for a visit and helping out. The Hummingbird grill would be a place my sister would hang out and probably show them her collection! Take good care, give Del a hug for me and she can give one back to you! luv ya, Betty
- EMAIL from Sylvia Marchese whose mom grew up in Donner with my mom:
After I got home last night it clicked where I met you and Del before. It was at Rosie Harris' house. It was really nice being with you two last night.
I'm going to check out the information you sent, but wanted to reply to you first. Check out the pictures attached.
1. The house in Donner where the Crochet family lived in 1908. My mother was not yet born.
2. The house in Lakebridge Plantation (Sugar Cane farm) where my mother was born in 1914. The area where Lakebridge was can only be reached by boat (so said my cousin Philip Crochet who lives in Napoleonville). That land was taken over by an oil company, I think Texaco, but not sure.
3 & 4. Harvesting the sugar cane. My grandfather was the overseer. After he died in 1923 (Mom was 8 years old), the family moved to New Orleans.
The document was dictated by Mom while I typed it.
Now, I'm going to read the stuff you sent me.
- EMAIL from Tess with followup on her doyle traces:
I awoke with the inspiration to thank you again. The doyles I've been releasing are so numerous and in such quick succession that the feeling of "open and clear" is a functional reality now. So that the "open" may be replaced with the most benevolent energies, I am moving towards any and all experiences that function as light filling processes. I was hoping to express this somehow today when I read a letter focusing on "continual awareness and practice"!
- EMAIL from Guntis:
Well Bobby, LSU did beat the Texas Aggies... I hope that you enjoyed the game.. I hate everything about TEXAS!! LSU looked like a pro team tonight... Your friend, Guntis
- EMAIL from Gust:
You got that right (about our wives looking great in the photo at right). By the way, I watched LSU beat Texas A&M. LSU looks like a much better team than I saw earlier in the year. Would like to see them play Florida State. Have a great day, Gust.
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"Ex Post Facto"
Give me your poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free and I will give them taxes, regulations, restrictions, and every manner of unfairness ever created by persons saddled with the illusion that they can decide what is best for someone else's welfare. The individual, like the business professional, knows what's best in a given situation and, given the freedom, will take that action. The forces of coercion are prying open the shell that contains the living muscle and spirit of the American people — will we resist those forces and keep our muscles and spirit alive, free to open at will, or will we give up like the oyster and settle for "freedom on the half shell?" Here is another poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:
4. My Simulator (1971)
Ex Post Facto
Next time you think of voting, ask yourself these questions.
What percentage of the people would have voted for:
. . . sailing to India with Columbus?
. . . going to the moon?
What percentage of the people would have voted for inventing:
. . . a heavier-than-air flying machine?
. . . an AC electric generator?
. . . a microwave oven?
. . . a VCR?
. . . a XEROX machine?
. . . an electronic computer?
. . . the Internet?
Only after a person with single-minded conviction
makes the essence of a personal vision
manifest in physical reality
is it possible to vote for the endeavor.
Such is the nature of discovery.
Such is the nature of invention.
Such is the nature of democracy.
Back in 1971 I was working for Lockheed Electronics Data Products Division in the city of Commerce near Los Angeles. I had spent an entire year designing and developing a simulator for our new SUE 16-bit minicomputer. It was design to update and replace our earlier MAC-16 minicomputer (which was being used in thousands of the first DOCUTEL ATMs). We needed the simulator to allow companies to code and test programs before the final release of the hardware so the simulator had to run on many types of computers. That was my priority design criterion.
I wrote it in MAC Fortran, a 1966 standard, using 16 bit integers to represent each byte of simulated RAM, using MODULO arithmetic to extract the byte and its higher bits for trace, debug flags, etc, from each integer. By doing so, I figured I could then run the simulator on even the large mainframe IBM 370's with minimal or no modifications. That was my plan, but I wrote it to run on our largest MAC-16 minicomputer.
A year later, the great day came! My acceptance test program (ATP) ran perfectly on the MAC-16. The ATP consisted of the hardware diagnostic program to verify functioning of the instruction set on the hardware itself, so my simulator could be tested by the ATP. Fully confident, but with some trepidation, I drove to the RAND Corporation's large computer facility in Santa Monica and entered an enormous room full of spinning tape drives and guys with white shirts and ties carrying tapes to be mounted according to the supervisors' directions coming from the Public Address System I was enthralled by the spectacle and chagrined as I wondered: How would my poor little FORTRAN program ever get to run on that monstrous Service Bureau computer system?
I found a System Operator, and he helped me prepare the necessary JOB control cards for my large FORTRAN program, and I submitted the job. A half hour later he brought the listing to me and said, "It looks like you got an ABEND." I was embarrassed to ask him what that meant, but I was pretty sure it meant Abnormal END to my program. I was crushed! How in the world would I ever sort out this mess? I didn't know how to read the ABEND dump and even if I did I was sure it would be NO help at all.
I finally found someone to help me and he showed me how to read it, but was no help in interpreting what happened, so I was back to square one again. I looked and looked and finally a pattern started to emerge: something had happened to the code when it transferred to the subroutine called IO. But what caused my IO subroutine to branch into data?5. Curing a Veteran of her Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome
Finally I got a hunch: I also had a data area called a Labeled COMMON BLOCK. So I renamed the labeled COMMON BLOCK named IO to something different so it would have name a different from the SUBROUTINE named IO. That did it! On the next try the simulator not only ran, but it ran perfectly! I WAS DONE! ! ! Total time used: about an hour of computer time, a couple hours of my time, plus the two-way trip to Santa Monica from Commerce.
Hallelujah! The David-sized MAC-16 had slain the Goliath-sized IBM 370! The MAC-16 could tell the difference from a labeled COMMON BLOCK named IO and a SUBROUTINE IO, but the IBM could NOT! So the first time my simulator called the IO Subroutine, Goliath branched into data and stalled immediately caused the ABEND. Goliath fell as quickly as when David's slingshot hit him in the forehead with a stone!
Suddenly I was no longer in awe of the omnipotence of IBM software — and I never will be again. My design was proven valid and completed on time. This was one of the most successful design and implementation software projects I ever had.
Click on this link to see Steve Andreas cure a Veteran of her post-traumatic stress symptoms.
A 14-minute Video Clip by Steve Andreas
What Steve Andreas does in this movie clip looks like some reframing and hints of various NLP processes of dissociation thrown in. The clip is condensed from some 16 HOURS of work, showing two followup sessions.
This work is important because it proves that PTSD can be eliminated by taking a person back before the traumatic events. That confirms my research which suggests the symptoms of PTSD result from the overload of the hippocampus by glutocorticoids during a traumatic event which prevents the hippocampus from transmitting declarative memory (aka cognitive memory) of the event to the cortex.
This can be viewed as a temporary reversion to one's time below five-years old, when one's hippocampus had not come "on-line" and thus was unable to transfer events to the cortex. Instead it stored all events as bodily states and few or no images of the events were stored (thus: no cognitive memory).
This indicates to me that one should be able, without a therapist present, to quickly and easily remove PSTD events by a Speed Trace in a few minutes instead of many hours. It may take longer than a few minutes if a therapist is required to lead the woman, e.g., through her first Speed Trace, ensuring that she HOLDS the physical body states as she goes down her TIME MARKS.
In other words, Steve Andreas has proven that PTSD is caused by the storage of anchors or doyles (physical body states) during trauma. From that data I aver that any psychotherapeutic process that meets the Speed Trace requirements of HOLD and MARK will prove successful in alleviating the flashbacks (caused by flash-bulb bleed-through of cognitive memories to the cortex during the trauma) and onerous body states such as full-body sweats, pulse rate elevation, and hair-trigger responses to non-threatening events, among other things.On November 22, 1963 I was working at the Atomic Energy Commission's Y-12 Plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee as a physicist, my first job after graduating from LSU. My colleague, co-worker, fishing buddy, and carpool sharer was Charles Lewis Thompson, III, whom I called Charlie. He and I were working rotating shifts at the time, both on the same shift and enjoyed each other's company on the short 15 minute ride to work each day. Charlie was a couple of years older than I was and had been working in the Stable Isotopes Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory a few years before I arrived. I was assigned to the team separating stable isotopes, and Charlie helped train me on the intricacies of separating Calcium isotopes. As I recall, Calcium has about 6 isotopes ranging from Ca40 to Ca48 and Ca46 was our target for separation. In 1962 dollars, Ca46 enriched to 50% was worth 650 dollars a milligram. That seemed like a lot, average monthly starting salary for an engineer at the time. But only decades later did I bother to do the math: one gram of the stuff was worth $650,000, and with 28 gms to an ounce, an ounce would be worth about 20 million dollars, and convert that into 2013 currency and you have one-fifth of a Billion Dollars for one ounce of Ca46 (only 50 percent purity, yet) — and that was at wholesale cost as the government was selling it. Why was this stuff so expensive? Ca46 was only .003 percent of the weight of naturally occuring Calcium, and it needed to be enriched to 50 percent, and the Calutron was the only known method of achieving that enrichment, doing it in a single-pass through its electromagnetic isotope separator machinery. It required high voltages (100,000 volts), high vacuum (.0001 mm) and high magnetic fields (if you let a screwdriver get stuck to the side of the opened cavity's magnetic field, it could not be pried loose, that's how high!). All this exotic technology was necessary to direct the miniscule beam of Ca46 ions into a graphite pocket where it was collected, atom-by-atom, until it was time to scrape away the coating and purify the Ca46.
On that fateful day at 2 pm, we heard an announcement over the PA system that John Fitzgerald Kennedy had been shot. By the time we left for home together at 3 pm EST, we heard that he had died. Charlie was morose and untalkative, both unusual behaviors for Charlie. As luck would have it, that was end of our shift and I was able to stay home and watch in amazement the events of the next two days unfolding on our black and white TV at home. Never had an event filled up and monopolized the TV for an entire day. I saw live when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald. I saw the cortege parading slowly led by horse-drawn hearse and a riderless horse on Constitution Avenue. Watching the various fifty anniversary specials have brought all the memories flooding back to me. I resolved to call my buddy Charlie on this day, and I was not able to locate him, but if he reads this, he'll know that I was thinking of him, his wife Ellen, and his daughter Mary Cynthia(I think).
You've heard that everyone who was alive then remembers that day, and I thought I'd share with you my memories of that day. He was the President who promised that the US would land a man on the Moon before the end of the decade, and we strove mightily to fulfill that promise to the man who led us into the New Frontier of Space and the Future.
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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Look at George Burns, Bob Hope, both lived to 100. Doesn't that prove that "He who Laughs, Lasts"? Do you find nothing humorous in your life? Are your personal notes blue notes? Are you unhappy with your life? Fearful? Angry? Anxious? Feel down or upset by everyday occurrences? Plagued by chronic discomforts like migraines or tension-type headaches? At Last! An Innovative 21st Century Approach to Removing Unwanted Physical Body States without Drugs or Psychotherapy, e-mediatelytm !
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