Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Historical & Scriptural Facts about Fermented Drinks in the Bible

It is often supposed that in Bible times, grape juice inevitably fermented if kept for any length of time and that therefore whenever the Bible mentions “wine,” it is referring to the alcoholic beverage commonly called “wine” today. However, ancient civilizations had several ways of preventing fruit and fruit juices from fermentation, and thus were able to have non-alcoholic wine (grape juice) throughout the year.

One method involved boiling the juice and reducing it to a syrup that could later be diluted with water. Another was to boil the juice with minimum evaporation and then immediately seal it with beeswax in airtight jars. Drying the fruit in the sun and then reconstituting it with water, adding sulfur to the fruit juice, or filtering the juice to extract the gluten were also methods that would prevent the juice from fermenting. These means of preservation were known to the ancients, who also practiced boiling fermented juice to eliminate the alcohol. Referring to reconstituting grape syrup to make grape juice, Aristotle, who was born around 384 b.c., wrote “The wine of Arcadia was so thick that it was necessary to scrape it from the skin bottles in which it was contained and to dissolve the scrapings in water” (quoted in Nott’s Lectures on Biblical Temperance, p. 80). The poet Horace, born in 65 b.c., wrote, “There is no wine sweeter to drink than that of Lesbos; it was like nectar . . . and would not produce intoxication.”

“The Mishna [a collection of oral Jewish traditions] states that the Jews were in the habit of drinking boiled wine” (Kitto’s Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature, vol. 2, p. 447). Naturally, this wine would be entirely free of alcohol as a result of the boiling, if not also from the manner of preservation.

In his commentary on the Gospel of John, Albert Barnes wrote, “The wine of Judea was the pure juice of the grape, without any mixture of alcohol. It was the common drink of the people and did not produce intoxication.” And Adam Clarke, commenting on Genesis 40:11, wrote, “From this we find that wine anciently was the mere expressed juice of the grape without fermentation. The saky, or cupbearer, took the bunch [of grapes], pressed the juice into the cup, and instantly delivered it into the hands of his master. This was anciently the yayin [wine] of the Hebrews, the oinos [wine] of the Greeks, and the mustum [wine] of the ancient Latins.” Clarke’s comments agree with the Scripture that declares “As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one says, ‘Do not destroy it, for a blessing is in it’ ” (Isaiah 65:8, NKJV).

Source: http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/what-are-historical-and-scriptural-facts-about-fermented-drinks-bible

Four Watches

Goethe knew the secret of the four watches of the night. The second part of Faust opens with Ariel directing the spirits who are to take it in turns to rule them :
Then the chorus of spirits weave together the magical utterances of the four-night watches in the Serenade, Notturno, Mattutino, and Reveil. [Reveille Old French Reviel to again awake]

" Four watches night hath - ere her fading
Pause not-let each with kindly deeds be rife.
And first, lay ye his head on the cool pillow, 

Bathe him in dew from Lethe's water drawn. 
Soon will the cramp-racked limbs be lithe as willow, 
If new refreshed he sleep to meet the dawn.
Fulfil the fairest elfin rite,
Give him again to the holy light."



When soft breezes swell, and vagrant 
Haunt the green-embosomed lawn, 
Twilight sheds its spices fragrant, 
Sinks its mists like curtains drawn, 
Breathes sweet peace, his heart composes 
Like a child's that rests from play, 
On his eyes so weary, closes 
Soft the portals of the day. 

In the Notturno (second watch) the soul of Faust sees in his body the glimmering reflection of the Stars. . . " Glassed within the lake they glimmer Gleam in Night's unclouded round." 


Now the Night more deeply darkles, 
Linketh holy star to star. 
Mighty torches, tiny sparkles, 
Glimmer near and gleam afar. 
Glassed within the lake they glimmer, 
Gleam in Night's unclouded round ; 
Throned aloft the moon's full shimmer 
Seals the bliss of peace profound. 

. . . In the Mattutino, the healing of the body is accomplished "Now the hours are spent and over, Weal and woe are swept away. Dream of health ; thou wilt recover Trust the gleam of new-born day!"


Now the hours are spent and over,
Weal and woe are swept away.
Dream of health ! Thou wilt recover !
Trust the gleam of new-born day !
Vales grow green, and swell like pillows
Hills to shady rest that woo,
And in swaying silver billows
Waves the corn the harvest to.

The future is indicated :
"And in swaying silver billows 
Waves the corn the harvest to."

When the morning comes, sleep, as the Reveil says, is now a shell that has to be cast away. Sleep has enveloped us like a covering. But the real man, the spiritual individuality, now re-enters the heart- "Who is wise and swift to seize " again his opportunity within the heaven-reflecting earthly body, and casts the shell of sleep away.


Wish on wish wouldst compass crowded,
Lift thine eyes to yon bright steep.
Only softly art thou shrouded,
Cast away the shell of sleep ! Falter not !
Thine heart embolden
When the throng faint-hearted flees.
Naught is from the brave withholden
Who is wise and swift to seize.

Ariel commands the spirits of the night to disappear; the waking man may not know nor hear them in the watches of the day, lest he should become deaf to the call of his earthly tasks.

"The twenty-four hours were once divided into the so-called Four Watches : four of the night and four of the day, each watch consisting of three hours. The first watch of the night - 6-9, the second 9-12, the third 12-3, and the fourth, 3-6.

Probably between 12 and 3 (midnight), the Earth's inhalation of the chemical ether is complete and the Sun has quite withdrawn its warmth and light. During this third watch of the night one could say that man's physical body is most deeply asleep, the life-forces contracted into the inner organs ; while the soul is " expanded " into its heavenly consciousness.

Freed from its entanglement in the senses it becomes aware of the fundamentally spiritual quality of the bodily organs and processes. They are like mirrors, reflecting their spiritual archetypes, - in the words of St. Paul, " as in a glass darkly,"- so that in sleep all the disharmonies that are there as a consequence of human error, are seen in relation to their original purity.

"During the gradual return of consciousness, which may occur in the fourth watch, the future glimmers into the past, - (which has been remembered and re-lived unconsciously in the second watch of the night) - and from this union of the past and future, the present once more asserts its existence.

Consciousness returns at first through the limbs, then rises slowly through the body. One is not completely awake until the whole process is finished, about the third watch of the day. Then the waking man has reached the end of his daily "in-breathing."

"A process is taking place in the Earth's environment in day and night which is similar. It is well known that then atmospheric currents cause a kind of reversal of temperature levels. The work of Dr. Wachsmuth gives calculations, diagrams, etc., showing that these processes are due to the respective suctional. and centrifugal movements of the ether, which constitute the breathing of the Earth's organism, and the interplay of terrestrial and cosmic influences upon one another.

"Although the descending and ascending of the chemical ether and the corresponding ascending and descending of the warmth ether, together constitute the Earth's breathing, and its "circulation," yet the former is carried out by the Earth itself, while the latter is under the direct influence of the Sun. Here the life of the Earth and the life of man correspond, because man can control his breathing, but not his circulation.

"But an apparent difference between man and the Earth is that the normal human being is only capable of being either asleep or awake at the same time; while the Earth can "sleep" or "wake" both together. What is outbreathing on one side of the Earth is in-breathing on the other : when it is day in England for instance, it is night in Australia. For the whole round of the Earth-not one part of it alone-possesses what is called heliotropism the "eternal striving towards the Sun." Man possesses this too, and every creature. But in man it can become a conscious spiritual striving."

Reference: The Year & its Festivals, Eleanor C. Merry

The twelve-hour day was divided into four periods of three hours each. The town bell rang at four intervals during the day to signal the time to all who could hear. The first hour, called Prime, rang at 6:00 a.m.; hour three (Terce) rang at 9:00 a.m.; hour six (Sext) rang at 12:00 p.m.; and hour nine (None) rang at 3:00 p.m.

The early Catholic Church adopted these daily patterns in their rituals, and monks recited prayers at the canonical hours of terce, sext and none, every day.

What does this have to do with “noon”? Well, the word for the ninth hour, specifically the ninth hour of daylight, so 3:00, became “non” in Old English. As church traditions changed, the canonical hours of “non” began to happen earlier, closer to 12:00 p.m.

We still don’t know if the time of the midday meal shifted from 3:00 to 12:00 or whether the time of Church prayers shifted, or both, but by the early 1200s, “noon” came to mean midday. In the 1300s, the earliest mechanical clocks showed a 24-hour dial, but by the 1500s, the 12-hour dial, starting at midnight, became standard. (The word afternoon came into common usage around this time as well.)

Friday, March 31, 2017

Table Graces

Earth who gave to us this food
Sun who made it ripe and good
Dear Earth, dear Sun
By you we live
To you our loving thanks we give.

-Christian Morgenstern


Sun, Earth and air,
Have wrought by God's care
That the plants may live and bear.
Praising God for this food
In Truth live we would,
Bearing Beauty and Good.


The plant seeds are quickened in the night of the Earth,
The green herbs are sprouting through the might of the Air,
And all fruits are ripened by the power of the Sun.

So quickens the soul in the shrine of the Heart,
So blossoms Spirit-power in the light of the World,
So ripens Man's strength in the glory of God.

-Rudolf Steiner


The bread alone is not our food.
What feeds us in the bread
Is God's eternal Word,
Is Spirit and is Life.

-Angelus Silesius


That which I do take for ourselves, unto ourselves,

That which does sustain us:

Be it filled with the fire from the Twelve,

And so divinely imbued,

That we may tolerate life, and life shall tolerate us.



There is a large collection at this site:


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Goethe's "Nature Table"

If you are setting up a house altar there are many examples, from many cultures today and in the past. Try representatives from the Elements: the Earth, the Air, Fire and Water (plants are of the Earth).

"When he [Goethe] was seven he built himself an altar to nature, taking his father's music stand and placing on it plants from his father's herbarium and also minerals and crowning it all with a little incense candle that he lit by focusing the beams of the morning sun with a burning-glass; an offering to the great god of nature, a rebellion against everything imposed on him by education."

-Rudolf Steiner, Practical Advice to Teachers, Stuttgart,  21st August to 5th September 1919

"We see the seven year old boy — Goethe — who could have absorbed quite ordinary ideas from his environment as any other boy would be able to do; but that did not satisfy him. He himself tells us so in his “Poetry and Truth”. There we see this boy begin something quite extraordinary in order to express his longing for the Divine. He takes a music stand from his father's effects and transforms it into an altar by placing upon it all kinds of minerals and plants and other products of nature from which the spirit of nature speaks.

"With a certain premonition this boy-soul builds an altar, places a candle upon it, takes a burning-glass, which for the first rays of the rising Sun, gathers these with his glass and focuses them upon the candle till the smoke rises. And in advanced age he remembers how he, as a boy, sends his pious feelings to the great God of nature Who speaks through plants and mineral and sends us His fire through the rays of the Sun. All this develops further in Goethe.

"We see how it comes to expression, at a more mature age, after he arrives in Weimar and is called as advisor to the grand Duke — in the beautiful prosahymn, in which he says: Nature, we are surrounded and embraced by thee. Unwarned and unmasked she takes us into the cycles of her dance, hurrying along with us until we fall exhausted from her arms."
-Rudolf Steiner

Goethe's words from his Poetry & Truth:
The boy had chiefly concentrated his attention upon the first article of the creed. The God who stands in immediate connection with nature, and recognizes and loves it as His handiwork, seemed to him the real God, who might enter into closer relationship with man, as with everything else, and who would make him His care, as well as the motion of the stars, times and seasons, plants and animals. There were passages in the Gospels which explicitly stated this.

The boy could ascribe no form to this Being; he therefore sought Him in His works, and desired to build Him an altar in true Old Testament fashion. Natural productions were to represent the world symbolically; above these a flame was to burn, signifying the aspiration of man's heart towards his Maker. From his natural history museum, gradually stocked as opportunity occurred, the boy brought out his best samples of ore and other specimens; but now came the difficulty " how to arrange them and build them up into a pile. His father possessed a beautiful red lacquered music-stand, ornamented with gilt flowers, in the form of a four-sided pyramid with ledges at various heights, which had proved convenient for quartets, but had been little used latterly.

The boy possessed himself of this stand, and built up his representatives of Nature one above the other in tiers, so that the result was pleasing, and at the same time impressive. The first act of worship was to take place at early sunrise, but the young priest had not yet made up his mind how to produce a flame which should at the same time emit an agreeable odour. A method of attaining these two ends at last occurred to him, for he possessed a few fumigating tapers, which if they did not make a flame, yet diffused a pleasant fragrance as they smouldered. Indeed, this gentle burning and exhalation seemed a more fitting symbol of what passes in the soul than an actual flame. The sun had risen long before, but the neighbouring houses shut out the east. At last it rose above the roofs; forthwith a burning glass was applied and kindled the tapers, which were placed at the top of his erection in a beautiful china saucer.

Everything succeeded according to his heart's desire, and his religious service was complete. The altar was left standing as a special ornament in the room which had been assigned him in the new house. Every one regarded it as merely an ornamental collection of natural curiosities. The boy knew better, but concealed his knowledge. He longed for a repetition of the ceremony. But unfortunately, just as the sun rose most favourably, the porcelain saucer was not at hand; he placed the tapers directly on the upper surface of the stand; they were kindled, and so great was the devotion of the priest, that he did not observe, until it was too late, the mischief his sacrifice was doing.

The tapers had burned mercilessly into the red lacquer and beautiful gold flowers, as if some evil spirit had been there, and left black, ineffaceable footprints. This disaster caused the young priest extreme embarrassment. The damage could be concealed, it was true, by the larger specimens, but he had lost heart for new offerings, and the accident might almost be considered an indication and warning as to the danger which subsists in attempting to approach the Deity in such a way.

Freedom of Thought

Already, unconsciously or subconsciously, we all carry Christ within us. But through ourselves alone we must find the way to understand Him anew. This will not come from the imposing of fixed dogmas, only from doing all we can to further what will make Christ universally comprehensible, to further the spread of universal religious knowledge in general, and to search out everything which can work to this end. Hence in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch the need for more and more tolerance, particularly where thought in connection with religious experience is concerned. And whereas in the fourth post-Atlantean epoch those who worked to spread religious truths did so by imposing certain dogmas and fixed principles, in the fifth period this must all completely change. It is a question of something entirely different.

Because men are becoming more and more individual an attempt should be made for anyone to describe his inner experiences completely freed from dogma to another, in such a way that the latter might also be able to develop his own free life of religious thought as an individual. It is a fact that dogmatic religion, the fixed dogmas of the religious confessions, will kill the religious life of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch. So that a fresh start from this age must consist in making it clear that in the first centuries of the Christian era this or that may have been adapted to man's development at the time, and that in the following centuries something different is needed. Also that there are different religions. We must try to make the essential nature of the different religions intelligible, to make clear different aspects of the Christ-conception. In this way we bring to every soul what it requires for its particular deepening. But we do not ourselves intervene in the moulding of the soul; we leave the soul, especially in the sphere of religion, its own liberty of thinking and scope to unfold this liberty.

Just as social understanding is necessary for the fifth post-Atlantean period at the point I have described, so is liberty of thought on religious grounds a fundamental condition for the development of the consciousness soul. SOCIAL UNDERSTANDING IN THE SPHERE OF HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS. LIBERTY OF THOUGHT IN THE SPHERE OF RELIGION — of the religious life.

In this very age of the consciousness soul, the ahrimanic powers are most fiercely renewing their attack upon liberty of thought — the nerve and sinew in the stream of the spiritual scientific conception of life

And in the age which prompted by modern life feels the first stirrings of a need to think freely, we find the opposing power at work in the so-called Jesuitism of the different religions — although much comes under this heading which would have to be described in detail. It is actually brought to life in order that the strongest possible resistance may be offered to liberty of thought, so vital a necessity for the fifth post-Atlantean period. It will become more and more necessary to exterminate Jesuitism, the enemy in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch of free thinking, because from religion outwards liberty of thought must spread over every sphere of life. But as it must be striven for independently, mankind is put, as it were, to the proof, and difficulties spring up everywhere. These difficulties will increase as men of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch advance towards clear consciousness, yet feeling this at first to be a disadvantage, and in many respects stupefying themselves.

So we find the clash of sharp conflict between germinating liberty of thought and the principle of authority which works into our times like a hang-over from the past. And there is a passion for dulling the consciousness and for self-deception where belief in authority is concerned. In our time putting faith in authority has become so great and so intensified that under its influence people are losing their power of judgment. In the fourth post-Atlantean epoch they were endowed by nature with sound understanding; now they must acquire it, develop it, and their belief in authority holds them back from doing so. We are becoming bound hand and foot to our belief in authority. Only think how helpless human beings appear when compared to the unreasoning animal creation! How completely the animal is guided by instincts which lead it in a sound way even from sickness back to health; whereas modern man fights against sound judgment in this respect and submits himself entirely to authority. He has very little wish to acquire discernment for healthy conditions of living, although it is true that praiseworthy efforts are made in this direction by various societies and institutions. But these efforts need to be very much intensified; above all we must realize that we have increasingly to contend with our own trust in authority, and that whole theories are being built up which in their turn will become the basis of convictions only serving to uphold belief in authority.

But under the pressure of authority we shall become more and more helpless. And systematically to build up this force of authority, this habit of authority, is actually the principle of Jesuitism. And Jesuitism in the Catholic religion is only a special instance of other less noticeable performances in other directions. It begins in the sphere of ecclesiastical dogma with the tendency to uphold papal authority projected over from the fourth post-Atlantean period into the fifth where it can do no good. But the same Jesuitical principle will gradually transfer itself to other spheres of life. In a form hardly differing from the Jesuitism of dogmatic religion, we already find it in medical circles where a certain dogmatism strives after more power for the medical profession. This is typical of Jesuitical aspiration everywhere; and it will grow stronger and stronger. People will find themselves more and more tied down by what authority imposes upon them. And in face of this ahrimanic opposition — for such it is — salvation for the fifth post-Atlantean epoch will be found in asserting the rights of the consciousness soul which is wishing to develop. But as the gift of reason is no longer bestowed upon us like our two arms by Nature, as was still to some extent the case in the fourth post-Atlantean epoch, this can only come about through our good will to develop the faculties of understanding and sound judgment. The development of the consciousness soul demands liberty of thought; and this can flourish only in a particular aura, in a certain atmosphere.

It stands to reason that to what has been said the following objections would be justified: “Yes, indeed — but we are not qualified to pronounce an opinion upon what experts nowadays officially give out. Only consider” — it might be objected — “what the medical student has to learn! That he should learn it is right and proper, but we could not; and then add to this what the lawyer must know, and the art student, and so on.” — It is certainly out of the question that we should learn these things; but we are not called upon to be creative, we need only be capable of judging. We must allow the expert to create, but we must be able to criticise the expert. And this faculty of judgment we shall not acquire by specialising, but only by cultivating in an all-round way our powers of understanding and our faculty of judgment. This, however, can never come about through expert knowledge in some particular branch of science, but only through the all-embracing knowledge of the Spirit.

Emphasis must be laid upon the fact that spiritual science not only teaches us but in this connection develops our faculty of judgment — that is to say, it makes possible and fosters the freedom and independence of our thinking.

It is not merely the things we learn, the knowledge we acquire, it is the beings of the higher Hierarchies themselves who help us when we know about them. And if in future, as the fifth post-Atlantean epoch proceeds, we face the authority of the expert, it will be good to have behind us not only our own human understanding but also what the spiritual beings are able to weave into it through our knowing about them. They qualify us to confront authority with sound judgment. The spiritual world helps us. We have need of it, we must know about it, and unite ourselves with it through conscious understanding. This is the third thing which must come to pass in the fifth post-Atlantean period.

The first is:


The second:


The third:


These three things must be the great true ideals of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch. We must have reciprocal understanding in the social sphere, liberty of thought in religion and in the other branches of community life; and in the sphere of knowledge we must have knowledge of the spiritual worlds.

SOCIAL UNDERSTANDING, LIBERTY OF THOUGHT, KNOWLEDGE OF THE SPIRITUAL WORLDS. These are the three great aims and impulses of the fifth post-Atlantean period. In the light of these impulses we must develop, for they are the true lights of our time. Many people feel strongly that some change is necessary, particularly in the social sphere where a quite different way of living must be adopted, and that we must have different concepts. But out of ignorance or unwillingness they evade the ultimate conclusions. This can be seen from the attitude of so many towards the aspirations of spiritual science. And here we need not confine ourselves to deliberately malicious calumny of it or of Theosophy. We need only consider the sincere will that abounds among men today, sincere will that aims at the creation of impulses tending in the direction post-Atlantean humanity should take.

-Rudolf Steiner