The Archangel Gabriel is depicted as presiding over the winter months, as well as being associated with the element of water and the moon, and was the messenger to Mary to announce the coming of Jesus.
The coming of winter in the northern hemisphere brings much rain here in the Pacific Northwest, with silvery clouds and radiant sun behind. This sky frames the evergreens and the bare branches of deciduous trees, as the winds have blown away the beautiful gold, brown and scarlet colored leaves to the ground.
Our spiritual Teachers tell us and we can observe that at the coming of Autumn, the earth takes a deep breath, breathing in the brilliant spiritual rays from our summer sun and taking those rays deep within itself.
In winter the Earth absorbs and draws back to its core the cosmic impulses which it radiates during the summer.
In winter the whole surface of the Earth is reinvigorated. Below the Earth’s surface, in winter, there is a tremendous reinforcement of the Earth’s capacity to produce life. Mother Earth has a solid core. Looking at the earth from the moon, we see island Earth with its continents floating above our vast oceans, while the moon holds sway over the tidal impulses of our water planet.
Mary prepared for the birth of Jesus, the Sun/Son Child, by receiving the pure elements of the Holy Spirit, as the Earth itself inhales radiant Light it receives from our Sun.
Mary, our Mother, even now prepares herself and joyfully receives into herself the Sun—and the spiritual Being within the Sun, the Christos. She enters the heaven world to prepare a place for her baby, and in the depths of winter, she delivers this child into an earthly vehicle. She and her child are well represented as being formed out of the clouds, endowed with the forces of the Earth: with the Moon-forces below, with the Sun-forces in the middle, and above, towards the head, with the forces of the stars. The picture of Mary with the little Jesus-child arises out of the cosmos itself…
This is our inheritance as we rise and fall into the rhythms of the seasons and of our daily life. Our feet are rooted in the earth, but our roots came out of the Sun and the heavenly worlds above. Let us breathe deeply of this Light and let it stream out of ourselves to welcome a New Age of Peace.
In gratitude, and wishing you a most blessed Christmas
—Rev. Mary Anderson
Class Father Paul August 13, 1968: (excerpts cont. from last issue)
You have to work on them and step out on it.
It is just the same as when the Master, on the road that day when he saw the leper, said, “Arise. Take up thy bed and walk.” Walk! Unless more or less thy same sins return unto thee. He didn’t say, “Maybe you can get up; try and pick up your bed; see if you can walk.” Unh-unh. He said, pick it up: walk. But mark my word, don’t go back and do it over again, because it will come back on you. Now the man had to assume that he was well, didn’t he, or he’d have never got off of the bed…
Now there are three comparative things in life that man works with, and those three things are assumption; comprehension, and realization. Now these are three distinct acts of man. You might say they are three points of the triangle, in a sense. Because these three words represent the three great states of reality which you must function in, somehow or other in order to have a prayer or any state of spirituality work and become a part of your life. Assuming something is not getting a false idea: assuming something that you know to be a reality is taking hold of it and using it, with confidence, with knowing, with understanding.
Now there’s another factor necessary in here, and that’s comprehension. You have got to understand what you’re working with or at least what you want. Can you comprehend Jesus, can you comprehend the great Son? Can you comprehend the statement that Jesus made when he said, “Only through me shall you see the face of the Father?” Can you comprehend this? It’s possible for you to.
Then there is the realization of this: to realize that this is, and to accept it and work with it. Now I can see wheels going around in many heads. And when you get three words such as this—assumption, comprehension and realization—which aren’t really long words but …they’re very simple. Comprehend, assume, and realize…
This comprehension as we speak of it is a very serious bit of maneuvering and it’s a very serious thing, because it is one thing that will move more in your life than anything else that I know of, because this is the halfway point so to speak. It is the point at which the fork of the road is. .. This is the hallway point. And it’s at that point that the whole earth is now, in its decisions, in this way to the fulfillment of what the Testament said when it said there shall be a new heaven and a new earth…
We have the term faith used in the Christian philosophy, and this faith is a blind acceptance that something is or something is going to be…Now, when you assume something, you do a little more than that, you know that it is going to take place; you know that it has already taken place. Now that’s a rather ridiculous statement on the face of it, but when you start to analyze it, it isn’t, because everything that happens first happens in the mind and in the Mind of God…
Your mind is in the Mind of God, isn’t it? Now that may make you shudder a little bit when some of the things that you’ve thought of, you wouldn’t like to feel that you had put this in the Father’s mind too, would you? Well you have. So kinda watch out what you think about, and if you assume something, you assume it already exists. And this is true, it exists there because you are the creator, you are the one that has given your word, which is the word of God, that it’s going to happen down here in this world….You may not make it in a distinct statement but you may repeatedly accept something as a fact, and therefore it will become a certain condition or fact in your life. You may accept that you have arthritis or stomach ulcers or something else and it will be; I’ll guarantee you 100% that you will develop them.
You know, God never failed to answer a prayer, never…And they’re not always nice things, because people don’t prayer for nice things always…
Now there is another factor which enters into the picture here and that’s comprehension. Now a person may be able to understand certain things in word pictures, but can you comprehend the exactitude and the reality of your prayer…Can you comprehend the reality of it happening? ….No true Christian can say that he hopes God will answer his prayer, because he is a doubter of the Testament and a doubter of the Testament is not a Christian. So to comprehend is to be able to assume something and fully understand that it has happened. Comprehension. Reality.
And the next step is the realization. This is the materialization of it, realizing that it is so…
The realization of it is when we start to work with it, when we start to realize in illumination, for instance, that this is Light and it isn’t imagination, and you start to work with it. These are not mental concepts…
Now I don’t care what you call it; that doesn’t make any difference. It’s the recognition of power and Supreme Power and Intelligence which is at the root of all things. And you don’t realize anything until you work with it and cooperate with it–when it answers your questions; when your prayers are answered; when you have gotten results, then you have truly realized a thing, a prayer, or the Self…this is what each one is faced with when he goes into the spiritual channel of things. He can work and study and go on for years learning, but until he gets his feet we, until he does something with it, he doesn’t know.. He may have letters that long after his name, but he doesn’t know anything, not a thing.
But when one of my boys go out on the street and they meet somebody that’s in trouble, and they stand and talk with them or say a prayer with them privately, and it immediately takes effect and the person’s helped, I don’t care if he’s only been in here six days, he knows! And there’s only one way you can know, and that’s when you have gotten yourself out of the way and you’ve let the power and the Spirit work…
Just because you can get up and say the Lord’s Prayer and go through some ritual don’t make you a minister, not by a jugful. But if you can walk up to a person that’s very ill on the street and lay your hands on him and say, “Father, let the Holy Ghost come down!” and he’s healed, you’re a minister. I don’t care whether you’ve ever opened the Bible or not…I am emphatic about this because it is the keynote to every man and woman alive, their happiness; because the moment that they know, there is no more fear. Fear has gone out of their life forever because they know that the Holy Spirit is a real thing, and there’s no more fakery or imagination about it.
There was a time when almost every rural British family who kept bees followed a strange tradition.
Whenever there was a death in the family, someone had to go out to the hives and tell the bees of the terrible loss that had befallen the family.
Failing to do so often resulted in further losses such as the bees leaving the hive, or not producing enough honey or even dying.
Traditionally, the bees were kept abreast of not only deaths but all important family matters including births, marriages, and long absence due to journeys. If the bees were not told, all sorts of calamities were thought to happen. This peculiar custom is known as “telling the bees”.
The practice of telling the bees may have its origins in Celtic mythology that held that bees were the link between our world and the spirit world. So if you had any message that you wished to pass to someone who was dead, all you had to do was tell the bees and they would pass along the message.
But the relationship between bees and humans goes beyond superstition. It’s a fact, that bees help humans survive. 70 of the top 100 crop species that feed 90% of the human population rely on bees for pollination.
Without them, these plants would cease to exist and with it all animals that eat those plants. This can have a cascading effect that would ripple catastrophically up the food chain.
Losing a beehive is much worse than losing a supply of honey. The consequences are life threatening.
The act of telling the bees emphasizes this deep connection humans share with the insect.
On the night of December 21st a once in a lifetime sight in the heavens will occur – the most spectacular conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn of this century. ..The conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn on the night of this year’s winter solstice can best be viewed shortly after sunset in the southwestern sky. The best plan for observing it with a telescope or binoculars is to find a good spot to get an unobstructed view of both planets on a night or two prior to the 21st immediately after sunset. If you want to photograph the conjunction, a tripod for your camera is a must.
Although conjunctions between Jupiter and Saturn happen every few years, they rarely appear to be this incredibly close to each other (less than the space of a crescent moon between them) and are difficult to see due to glare from the setting sun.
… This year, on December 21st, 2020, Jupiter and Saturn will align in the air sign of Aquarius. The Grand conjunction occurs every twenty years or so, and is when both Jupiter and Saturn align at the same degree of the zodiac.
The Grand Conjunction represents a changing of an era, and a time where we shift our way of viewing the world.
As our world view changes, so too does society and the way we choose to approach things.
While the Grand Conjunction happens every couple of decades, the 2020 alignment opens the door to an even bigger cycle.
For the last 200 years, Jupiter and Saturn have been aligning only in earth signs, but the Grand Conjunction happening in an air sign for the first time in 200 years represents an even bigger shift in our world view and the era we are about to embark upon.
Jupiter and Saturn will also be aligning at zero degrees of Aquarius, which is an extra significant degree of the zodiac.
Zero represents infinite potential and holds the energy of limitless possibilities.
The Grand Conjunction happening in Aquarius also further propels us into the energy of the Age of Aquarius.
Under this Grand Conjunction, we could see a shift into more community-based living.
Precedents: Our Lord came to earth as a sacrifice, and his birth among the animals of sacrifice symbolized his mission. Previous to his coming, animals were offered up to appease the Lord’s anger, and to encourage His favor and forgiveness of sins. Certain exoteric religions had regressed to the point where these animals were actually worshipped as holy creatures. At the time animal sacrifice was begun, this was meant to symbolize a sacrifice of the carnal mature by one who had become enlightened.
In the Taurean Age, the bull or cow were considered sacred in some religions, while the opposite pole of Scorpio was sometimes represented by the serpent, symbol of occult teachings, as seen on the Egyptian headdress. Every sign in this context is seen to reflect some characteristic of its opposite. The old wisdom teachings bore a strong flavor of this Taurus-Scorpio axis, the combination of nature and architecture in the sign of cattle, and the phallic symbolism associated with Scorpio.
In the next or Aries Age of the Ram, the firstling or leader of the sheep was sacrificed, while its opposite sign of Libra was represented by the Tables of the Law, and the Sacred Scriptures of Moses.
In the Piscean Age, fishes and those who would later become Fishers of Men came to the fore, and had as their opposite sign Virgo, the Virgin holding a sheaf of wheat. The loaves and fishes multiplied by the Lord Jesus to feed the multitudes represented the fruits of both signs. In Virgo too is hidden the mystery of healing, for this is the sign of health: the Son of Righteousness was to come “with healing in His wings.”
Now the incoming Aquarian Age is represented by the Man, full-grown, and is balanced by its opposite sign Leo, of the heart, the Son/Sun, and the Son of Man. The more obvious teachings now have to do with the evolution and development of humankind, and within these will be hidden the door to inner mysteries of the sign Leo as well.
All the great mystery teachings of the ages have pointed to the birth of the Sun, which becomes possible as each person reaches a degree of perfection from within, but the timing of its fullest realization could only come now, in the Age of Man and Sun, or the Son of Man so often mentioned by Jesus, and sometimes even by Daniel of the Old Testament.
Jesus began a new Way, for all the old had been fulfilled, including the prophecies which he proceeded to fulfill one by one. In this day of Man, we turn to where he left off, and pick up the Testament and the Sacraments as Jesus did the Law of Moses, and use these as a springboard into the new Dispensation on whose threshold we stand – in the Doorway of the Sun. –The Story of Jesus
How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain
New research is starting to explore how gratitude works to improve our mental health…
Recent evidence suggests that a promising approach is to complement psychological counseling with additional activities that are not too taxing for clients but yield high results. In our own research, we have zeroed in on one such activity: the practice of gratitude. Indeed, many studies over the past decade have found that people who consciously count their blessings tend to be happier and less depressed… Gratitude Study
- Gratitude unshackles us from toxic emotions…
However, people who used more positive emotion words and more “we” words in their gratitude letters didn’t necessarily have better mental health later. It was only when people used fewer negative emotion words in their letters that they were significantly more likely to report better mental health. In fact, it was the lack of negative emotion words—not the abundance of positive words—that explained the mental health gap between the gratitude writing group and the other writing group.
…When you write about how grateful you are to others and how much other people have blessed your life, it might become considerably harder for you to ruminate on your negative experiences.
- Gratitude helps even if you don’t share it
…The mental health benefits of writing gratitude letters are not entirely dependent on actually communicating that gratitude to another person.
So if you’re thinking of writing a letter of gratitude to someone, but you’re unsure whether you want that person to read the letter, we encourage you to write it anyway. You can decide later whether to send it (and we think it’s often a good idea to do so). But the mere act of writing the letter can help you appreciate the people in your life and shift your focus away from negative feelings and thoughts.
- Gratitude’s benefits take time
It’s important to note that the mental health benefits of gratitude writing in our study did not emerge immediately, but gradually accrued over time. ..
For now, the bottom line is this: If you participate in a gratitude writing activity, don’t be too surprised if you don’t feel dramatically better immediately after the writing. Be patient and remember that the benefits of gratitude might take time to kick in.
- Gratitude has lasting effects on the brain
… Most interestingly, when we compared those who wrote the gratitude letters with those who didn’t, the gratitude letter writers showed greater activation in the medial prefrontal cortex when they experienced gratitude in the fMRI scanner. This is striking as this effect was found three months after the letter writing began. This indicates that simply expressing gratitude may have lasting effects on the brain…
Much of our time and energy is spent pursuing things we currently don’t have. Gratitude reverses our priorities to help us appreciate the people and things we do. –Excerpts from article in Greater Good Magazine by Joshua Brown and Joel Wong
In this past year of change, my mind and heart have overflowed with people. People I think of and pray for, and sometimes cry with, people with names and faces, people who died without saying goodbye to those they loved, families in difficulty, even going hungry, because there’s no work.
Sometimes, when you think globally, you can be paralyzed: There are so many places of apparently ceaseless conflict; there’s so much suffering and need. I find it helps to focus on concrete situations: You see faces looking for life and love in the reality of each person, of each people. You see hope written in the story of every nation, glorious because it’s a story of daily struggle, of lives broken in self-sacrifice. So rather than overwhelm you, it invites you to ponder and to respond with hope.
These are moments in life that can be ripe for change and conversion. Each of us has had our own “stoppage,” or if we haven’t yet, we will someday: illness, the failure of a marriage or a business, some great disappointment or betrayal. As in the Covid-19 lockdown, those moments generate a tension, a crisis that reveals what is in our hearts.
In every personal “Covid,” so to speak, in every “stoppage,” what is revealed is what needs to change: our lack of internal freedom, the idols we have been serving, the ideologies we have tried to live by, the relationships we have neglected…
Whether or not they were conscious of it, their choice testified to a belief: that it is better to live a shorter life serving others than a longer one resisting that call. That’s why, in many countries, people stood at their windows or on their doorsteps to applaud them in gratitude and awe. They are the saints next door, who have awakened something important in our hearts, making credible once more what we desire to instill by our preaching.
They are the antibodies to the virus of indifference. They remind us that our lives are a gift and we grow by giving of ourselves, not preserving ourselves but losing ourselves in service…
If we are to come out of this crisis less selfish than when we went in, we have to let ourselves be touched by others’ pain. There’s a line in Friedrich Hölderlin’s “Hyperion” that speaks to me, about how the danger that threatens in a crisis is never total; there’s always a way out: “Where the danger is, also grows the saving power.” That’s the genius in the human story: There’s always a way to escape destruction. Where humankind has to act is precisely there, in the threat itself; that’s where the door opens…
To come out of this crisis better, we have to recover the knowledge that as a people we have a shared destination. The pandemic has reminded us that no one is saved alone. What ties us to one another is what we commonly call solidarity. Solidarity is more than acts of generosity, important as they are; it is the call to embrace the reality that we are bound by bonds of reciprocity. On this solid foundation we can build a better, different, human future. By POPE FRANCIS