‘Easter Bells’ – Osterglocken – daffodils
and an Easter thought ~
Sometimes one wonders where customs around religious festivals originate ~ is there more to it than just something in that religion? Take the Easter egg hunt – perhaps you are having one yourselves this Easter! What is that? Why an egg? A reflection: the egg hunt has a deeper level to it, that goes beyond a religious tradition. What is the egg? It is a very real bringer of new life. From this, it has been a symbol down the ages for creation, or birth, or new-birth. In Ancient Indian mythology, out of a shining golden egg arose heaven and earth. The Persians pictured the world before evil as a huge light-egg. In one Egyptian myth, the first god arose from an egg. In Greek myths of creation, the great Goddess Nyx laid a silver egg, from which came a god with golden wings: Eros, the god of love. In Christian symbolism, the egg is a symbol for the resurrection: new life from an inner golden sun breaks through the hard outer shell, overcoming the confines of the hardened mineral world.
And the egg hunt? A hunt is a journey, an inner journey. Christ’s words “seek and ye shall find” have a deep universal wisdom in them. We are seeking for new life, a new inner birth…
Which goes to remind us: We need to think a little out of the box when it comes to religious customs and festivals – many have deeper meanings that transcend borders of faiths, relating to the spirit that weaves and works in all.
(adapted from an article by Wolfgang Held in ‘A tempo’, Feb 2019, freely translated from the German)
At the end of February and beginning of March this year, the position of sun and earth was favourable to view a rare guest in the evening sky, one who most of the time wanders invisibly in the vicinity of the sun: Mercury. Its reached its highest point in the arch at the turning point of the two months (see diagram).
Mercury stands as a counterpoint to the quiet of the other heavenly bodies: the calm procession of the stars, the long graceful interweaving of the other planets through night skies, taking their course through the constellations in seeming independence of the sun’s movements. Mercury, in contrast, is only to be seen in the skies of dawn or dusk when no other stars are yet visible, when day and night come together, in the meeting space of landscape and the heavens. It is a planet of relationships.
This quality of mercury can be seen in other physical phenomena. For instance, if we calculate how much larger the diameter of the earth’s 12,742 km is to the diameter of mercury’s 4,879 km, it is exactly to two decimal places the relationship of the Golden Ratio, or 1.61. This approximate relationship of 5:8 we find everywhere in nature as a universal ratio for growth, from twig segments to buds to pine cones…
There’s another interesting number relationship unique to mercury not only in space but in time: Mercury rotates on its axis every 58 days, and needs 88 days to circle the sun. This time it’s not in the proportion of the golden ratio but of 2:3, which in music is the relationship the 5th interval. Armin Husemann notes in his book The Harmony of the Human Body: Musical Principles in Human Physiology that this relationship weaves into the structure of the lungs: on the right side there are three, on the left two lobes; the branching of the whole bronchial system is built up on the principle of 2:3. The interval of the fifth is one of harmony and balance, standing half way between the unison and the octave. Breathing is a harmonising and balancing process. Perhaps it’s not surprising that in antiquity the planet mercury stood in relationship to the lungs…
While on the topic of breathing, another amazing number relationship: we breathe on average 18 times per minute, with heart beat on average 72 per minute, or four times the rate. If we calculate how many times we breathe within a day’s period, we arrive at 25,920… which is the number for the Great Year or Platonic Year – the period in which all the planets and fixed stars complete a cycle and return to a configuration they have occupied before.
There are many, many such wonders in the relationships of the circling heavenly bodies to the structures and processes in nature and the human being. Truly we are all part of one great harmonious picture, with rhythms and relationships mirrored and connected throughout!
What makes a New Year a New Year?
Reflections on deeper meanings behind festival dates
We seldom stop to think about the positions of festivals in the calendar. Are they arbitrary, or does a deeper wisdom play in to the many decisions made in the past on dates for festivals, whether Christian or other? When we explore them further, we often find a hidden depth, there to help people in their inner soul life to sense or find a real relationship to the earthly and cosmic rhythms surrounding us, whether seasonal, planetary or zodiacal. Some are more esoteric or spiritual in nature, as in the part of Epiphany celebration that marks the birth of the Christ in earthly evolution at the baptism by John…
…Relating in real ways to the earthly and cosmic rhythms surrounding is something we have largely lost, but it can become more significant again for us if we renew this in a conscious way. Nurturing these and other rhythms helps bring an inner strength and resilience…
This short article reflects on some of the festivals, especially in relation to the New Year…
… for the full text, click here.
On 3rd November CANA (www.cana.org.uk) hosted a day event at the Essex Unitarian Church in London on the theme “We are All One”. The participative programme demonstrated how what the mystics of all faiths throughout the ages have testified is now being evidenced both by science and also through the well-researched spiritual experience of 78% of people across the world willing to speak about it, now that there is less chance of being scorned. What is emerging is that Oneness is a living reality and that ‘consciousness is not something that we have; it is what we and the whole world are.’
“What is emerging is that Oneness is a living reality and that consciousness is not something that we have; it is what we and the whole world are.”
There are DVDs available of the presentations and a smaller group will be meeting in London on May 11th to design a follow-up programme that will be available, with a couple of facilitators, for people to host a programme in their own churches and communities across the UK.
For further information, go the website above, or write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch the mainstream media and it can be hard to believe that humanity is evolving, except perhaps in a spiral of self-destruction, but those reading this newsletter know that another, deeper evolutionary process is taking place. This is the subject of a new web-site and on-line institute co-created by our own Keith Beasley (host of the One Spirit North Wales hub): Conscious Evolution Today combines Keith’s insights and experiences in personal growth with a very different set of profound perceptions from partner Chris Thomson (in Catalonia). In form, as well as content, their blog, mentoring and on-line courses provide a deeper, more connected way of ‘thinking’, help and support for the conscious evolution that we are all part: now is the time to do so consciously! We welcome comments on our blogs, reciprocal links and any opportunity to collaborate with like-minds and kindred spirits . . . for by sharing, on-line as in person, so our energy is multiplied…
“Our understanding of the Universe is about to transform at all levels, from the tiniest Planck scale to the vast reaches of space. Recent scientific discoveries show that the information that upholds all of our modern technologies is exactly the same as the universal in-formation that underpins, pervades and is all we call physical reality.
“Exploring how information is more fundamental than energy, matter, space, or time, Jude Currivan, Ph.D., examines the latest research across many fields of study and many scales of existence to show how our Universe is in-formed and holographically manifested… Read more
Music and the arts should be a core part of the school curriculum
Nearly every day I hear or read examples of how school children are suffering from the stress of pressurised schooling and high stakes testing, leading to mental health problems. Just recently I heard another personal account, a teenage daughter suffering panic attacks and near mental breakdown from the pressure and stress at school for top marks on A-levels, finally having to take a year out… click here for more (article by Richard Brinton)
The Wessex Research Group Network puts out a monthly newsletter, with a selection of events from around the UK. Click on the banner above to view a sample and for contact details for putting yourself on their mailing list. See also their website, https://www.wessexresearchgroup.org/, which contains a wealth of information on centres, events, literary resources and more.
View Serge Beddington Behrens latest newsletter. Click on the above banner. See also his website: http://www.spiritual-activism.com/
A new ethos for education –
“Our highest endeavour must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of resonsibililty – these three forces are the very nerve of education.” (Rudolf Steiner)
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited; imagination, however, encompasses the whole universe.” (Albert Einstein)
Jakob Böhme on the vices of our age…
“Here perchance we begin to see why Böhme said that spiritual people should not be concerned about the vices of their age, nor criticise others, but rather should look inward to their own spiritual practice. For what matters for each of us in the final analysis is not whether we have managed to impose on others our own vision of how the world should be, but rather the degree to which we have reformed ourselves, and become vehicles for spiritual truth and grace.” (from Theosophia, by Arthur Verslius)
Age-appropriate interaction between head, heart and hand – and technology
Children are being pushed into things too early. By commercialism, by schooling (UK is amongst the only 12% of countries which start schooling with 4 or 5), and, quite simply, by materialism – pushing out their sense of spirituality, wonder and creativity which quite naturally abounds in early years, if we allow it and nurture it. Technology, in the form of smartphones, iPads and electronic games, is pushing its way into childhood quite forcefully, being furthered by state educational policies stipulating computers and iPads/tablets down into nurseries. It is stifling active and creative play, which the children need for their physiological, social and spiritual development.
To see a short video on how it is affecting children’s development, see below –
Allianz Eliant is circulating a Europe wide petition for governments, which demands that: Teachers, educators and parents must be able to decide for themselves how long (to what age) an educational institution can remain screen-free. Those responsible for teaching must be able to determine the medium they use, whether they enlist digital media and to what purpose it is put. To achieve this, the right to have screen-free day care institutions, kindergartens and primary schools is essential.
There be no secrets!
It seems part of our time that many things come out in the open that people or groups, for reasons of ego or greed, have tried to keep secret. ‘The truth will out’, as the saying goes, and there seems a particular abundance of such instances in our times. It’s almost as if we as human beings are becoming more ‘transparent’, that our inner thoughts, attitudes and actions are becoming more visible, harder to hide in sheaths of egotism. Perhaps it is all to prod us to raise our selfish egos to a higher level, to one of selflessness, where we are not just serving ourselves but our fellow human beings, mindful of caring for all life around us.
A passage in St. Luke’s Gospel comes to mind:
“There is nothing hidden which cannot be revealed, and nothing secret that cannot become known. All that you say in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you whisper to one another in your own rooms shall be proclaimed loudly from the housetops.” (Luke 12:2-3)
But there is also another level to this, not just that ill-thought and ill-begotten secrets will come out, but that the inner light, the spiritual light, wishes to shine and be proclaimed. We need the courage to proclaim the spirit, in our lives and with others. Not in the sense of preaching and proselytising – rather in the sense of having the courage, not being afraid, to speak our convictions, when the spirit moves you, as the Quakers would say.
“No one lights a lamp only to cover it with a vessel or to place it under the bed. Rather, it is put on a stand, so that all who enter may see the light.” (Luke 8:16)
May we bring truth, light and peace into our lives and deeds!
Miha Pogacnik on creativity and change in business!
Miha stresses the importance of creativity for the future of businesses – in his lively and entertaining way, taking music as an example in this video. Businesses and the economy cannot be simply based on past and present models or knowledge, but need the gift of creativity and imagination for finding successful paths into the future. In the midst of the banking crisis, even some bank managers were suggesting that they needed more art graduates in their midst to help them think outside the box.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited; imagination, however, encompasses the whole universe.” (Albert Einstein)
An inspiring talk on ‘Depression and spiritual awakening — two sides of one door’ with Lisa Miller
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Is depression, as most of us experience it, meaningless suffering? Dr. Lisa Miller presents research that lends meaning to the experience of depression and to our experience on planet Earth. She is Professor and Director of Clinical Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she founded and currently directs the Spirituality and Mind-Body Institute, to innovate, disseminate, and train healers in foundationally spiritual treatments. Dr. Miller solo-edited the Oxford University Handbook of Psychology and Spirituality (2012) and has published over seventy articles and chapters on spirituality in mental health and wellness.
The 41st annual Mystics and Scientists conference
of the Scientific and Medical Network…
The theme this year revisited the broad relationship of science and spirit from both Eastern and Western perspectives. Speakers brought together world views from biology, philosophy, psychology, religious studies, music, art and spirituality, addressing the theme from their various angles of expertise. Speakers included Dr Bhakti Vijnana Muni, Dr Bhakti Niskama Shanta, Prof Ursula King, Prof Keith Ward, FBA, Catherine Thom, and Dr Joan Walton. Chaired by Dr. Peter Fenwick and David Lorimer.
For further information on the Scientific and Medical Network, click here.
The physical as mirror of the spiritual ~
“Physical processes are the effects of soul-spiritual processes. And where a physical event happens, seemingly as if there was nothing spiritual behind it, we have to be absolutely clear that we simply have not yet recognised the spiritual presence.” (Rudolf Steiner)
Naomi and William Duffield have set up the new Swanage Retreat centre at Swanage, right on the coast with stunning views. You can go there for your own personal retreat, join Naomi and William in quiet meditation times, or be part of a retreat programme – or all three in one!
The new Spirit of Peace newsletter is out, with information on future events and reports on past events.
Kosmos – Journal for Global Transformation
from the recent quarterly newsletter –
Editorial | Awake, Awakened, Woke!
In our collective dream, we are racing toward a precipice. Earth’s human children have lost their way, propelled by swift currents of mindlessness and greed. The more we struggle against the current and try to cling to passing debris, the more exhaustion and panic we feel. And yet…and yet, we somehow know another reality is still possible, if only we can shift our awareness and change the story.
As in any dream, we will have to confront our own thought-forms and fears, our habits of mind, in order to wake up. We will have to let go and stop struggling, cohere our thoughts, and will ourselves awake.
Many of us believe a collective awakening is possible and happening now. We can point to other great awakenings in our Story… READ MORE
The verses in ‘The Calendar of the Soul’ were written by Rudolf Steiner for each week of the year (original in German), reflecting the soul experiences we can feel and through which we can inwardly grow in relationship to the time of the year. Through such reflections and meditations on the changing soul experiences through the year, one can develop a deep inner soul connection to the cycle of the seasons.
For the current verses as well as those for other times of the year, go to our Calendar of the Soul page by clicking here.
For the full 52 Calendar of the Soul Verses for each week of the year, including the original German as well as different language translations, go to http://www.calendarofthesoul.net/booklet.asp?Verse=1&Author=
Meditatio is a cluster of programs, publications and events that brings the fruits and benefits of meditation to the wider world. It is the outreach of The World Community for Christian Meditation and seeks to bring universal spiritual wisdom and values to bear upon the pressing issues of a secular world.
A Meditatio Council represents this work globally in the fields of Education, Health, Leadership, Social Justice, Science and Technology and InterFaith. Meditatio Seminars and other sponsored events are held internationally and publications in the areas of education, mental health, addiction, medicine, and dying have been produced.
A Meditatio Foundation has been established to help support this work.
For further information about Meditatio visit the pages of this website or contact Laurence Freeman, the Director of Meditatio by emailing Laurence@wccm.org.
a non-stop 7 day akhanda meditation practice for unity
This is a weeklong event happening each year in July. Participating groups and individuals choose a 30min slot/s in the meditate for unity calendar. It does not matter where you are in the world or the nature of your faith or tradition. All that is required is committing to meditate for unity in your chosen slot.
2018 was the third year in which Malvern Bhavan organised the meditate for unity 7day akhanda practice.
For further information on the 2018 event, click here or go to http://meditateforunity.com
UK marks Third International Day of Yoga, 21st June, 2017
photos of celebrations at Trafalgar Square
Aurora Gatherings –
places for reconnecting with our authentic essence
Almost 3 years ago some 20 friends of Cygnus came together to explore what they needed most. Above all, they wanted to meet with others of “like-heart” in their neighbourhood to support each other’s inner growth, regardless of beliefs and background. It soon became clear that no existing groups or organisations offered what they were looking for, all seemed to have an agenda of some sort. They wanted to be able to leave their beliefs and preconditioned thoughts at home and walk into the gatherings for heart to heart conversations. They were clear that having an agenda, with talks or prepared discussion topics, would interfere with their aim of living in the moment, in the spirit of “Thy Will be done” and surrendering control to the Universal Spirit.
Frankly, Geoff Napier was surprised and doubted that many would be attracted to meetings without a subject, with no goal or preferred outcome.
Nevertheless a trial meeting was arranged and, to his amazement it was a great success. There are now about 90 local groups, most of them meeting without agendas, by choice. They really treasure being with others, watching them grow inwardly, month by month. Geoff Napier is now supporting the non-structured groups under the name of Aurora Gatherings, whether or not they are associated with Cygnus.
If you would like to find out more about Aurora Gatherings and whether there is a group nearby, contact him at: Click here to send an email or call 01285 762 982 for more info, for a growing list of groups visit: www.auroragatherings.com
OSA One Spirit Summit 2016
New Story – New Era: Responding together to the call of spirit, Saturday, 17th September
This was a wonderful event, inspiring for the substance that many contributors brought, uplifting for the company of the many like-minded participants attending and the many conversations and interactions that ensued, and enheartening for the generosity of all those who gave towards making the day possible, including especially the hosts, Brahma Kumaris, who provided facilities and delicious lunch and refreshments on a gifting basis. This enabled the One Spirit Alliance to do similarly for all those attending.
‘Cross Currents in Consciousness’ – 5-6 December 2015
The weekend retreat at The Abbey in Sutton Courtenay in December was an inspiration and a treat. On Saturday the larger One Spirit Alliance grouping explored through sharing experiences, dialogue and creative work, steps we might take for further collaborative work together. Different themes were discussed in working groups. Especially impressive was the exercise we did together called ‘take a petal’, in which all participants put suggestions on coloured paper petals for themes and possible speakers for the OSA September 2016 conference as well as how our respective organisations could contribute. The collective sharing was then put together in the form of a flower (see photo).
Sunday was a quiet day for reflection, sharing and meditation, for which The Abbey was a perfect venue, complete with a cosy log fire crackling in the fireplace. It was jointly organised by the One Spirit Alliance and The Abbey. What the day brought home was that the endeavours to bring greater spiritual content to our lives and to society is not simply a matter of ‘others’ or ‘organisations’ but of individuals and individual destinies working together.
The second annual conference of
The Alister Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre
at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David
This took place on July 3 rd 2015 in the Founders’ Library in Lampeter. The topic was the study of Angels. The aim of the day was to highlight how angels
are perceived in different traditions and how we study them in different academic approaches.
Science, Religion and Spirituality: Moving towards a Post-Materialist Paradigm?
This joint AHSSSE / SMN conference took place on Saturday 27th June 2015 in Oxford. Speakers were Prof. Bernard Carr and Revd. Prof. Jeff Astley.
The Manifesto for a Post-Materialist Science includes a reference to “…the need to take into consideration spiritual experience”: how might current data and thinking contribute to change in the current materialist paradigm? The day will include a dialogue between the two speakers, with contribution from the floor.
Prof Bernard Carr is Professor in Mathematics and Astronomy at Queen Mary University of London, Vice-President of the SPR and Chair of the SMN.
Prof Jeff Astley is Honorary Professor in the Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University and a visiting professor at Glyndwr University and York St John University.
Shared Silence, Shared Vision, Shared Action
A Meditative Approach to Deepening our Connections
This event took place on the Saturday 15th April, 2015. Pictured above is Philip Marvin from the Study Society who hosted the morning along with Phillipa Blackham from the Brahma Kumaris and One Spirit Interfaith who hosted the afternoon session.
The Universe Story Event
The science from the origin of the Universe
to the present day – and its meaning ~
This was a collaborative day, supported by the One Spirit Alliance
What are the needs of our time – and
how can we best respond?
This One Spirit Alliance gathering in November 2014 at The Abbey, Sutton Courtenay explored the new challenges facing spiritual organisations in a fast-changing world and considered whether our current responses are adequate.
The aim of the day was to promote greater awareness and understanding between participating organisations. Sharing experiences and conversing on the key issues we all face is enriching and enlivening. This idea took the tangible form of an interconnecting hexagon pattern. Each organisation wrote their main intentions on one side of the hexagon and the name of the organisation on the other. Without knowing the identity of each organisation we were invited to situate our hexagon next to other hexagons of organisations who resonated with our own principles. This form created a dialogue of interconnection and support and is ever expanding
Sometimes people say we have to do more than preach to the choir but part of our work is helping the choir to find each other. There is a very beautiful song to be sung on this planet when we all connect our streams to one another , and the potential of the amplification for what can happen on this Earth is magnificent ( David Nicol .)
The New Story Summit
One Spirit Alliance Conference
‘Spirit in Action’
28th June 2014
at Colet House, London
The day aimed to honour the unique contribution each individual and organisation has to make whilst recognising that by working together collaboratively we are all enriched and strengthened.
Speakers on the day were
Anthony Russell author of Evolving the spirit- from Democracy to Peace
Serge Beddington-Behrens author of Awakening the Universal Heart
Towards an Age of Light
Perhaps the most significant symbol presaging a new Age of Light in human life is the laser. It is no surprise that such a powerful tool has the potential for both creative and destructive uses, for light can blind as well as illuminate. As ever the responsibility for right use lies within human hands…….
What gives the laser its peculiar potency? Everyone knows that the light from a laser is of only one colour and that this light can be projected as a very narrow beam. What is probably less understood is that these two qualities are different aspects of the key characteristic namely coherence. In simple terms this means that each individual waveform of light, each photon, is ‘in step’ with all others like soldiers marching in close formation. This gives the light its extraordinary purity, intensity and power of projection. An interesting analogy could be made with the mind of a trained mediator which can penetrate into previously unknown realms of consciousness. Another analogy which is particularly instructive as we move into an age where group consciousness is increasingly the norm is between coherence and two of the principles identified by the esoteric philosophy as essential to our times, namely the principles of unanimity and essential divinity.
How do these principles operate in a group? In the case of unanimity we could say that it is where a group is consciously striving to find the highest common point of agreement on a specific course of action. This distinguishes from the much maligned ‘groupthink’ where people agree with whatever others think in order to minimise conflict. Instead those striving for unanimity intend to seek the harmony that lies beyond conflict by critically assessing all ideas without attaching any importance to their source. It is only by removing the strictly personal dimension that the underlying quality of ideas can be properly weighed and the resonance of the highest common point of agreement can begin to emerge, subtly building in strength as the group senses it with increasing clarity. The principle of essential divinity works in a similar way as members of a group from different spiritual traditions gradually recognise the essential qualities of Spirit common to their specific faiths allowing them to participate in a shared approach to the source of all Light and Love however it is labelled.
Excerpt form World Goodwill Newsletter 2014.No2
NB the United Nations has declared 2015 the International Year of Light.