"Since the First World War Americans have been leading a double life, and our history has moved on two rivers, one visible, the other underground; there has been the history of politics which is concrete, factual, practical and unbelievably dull; and there is a subterranean river of untapped, ferocious, lonely and romantic desires, that concentration of ecstasy and violence which is the dream life of the nation."

Norman Mailer
"The whole work of healing Tellus depends on nursing that little spark, on incarnating that ghost, which is still alive in every people, and different in each. When Logres really dominates Britain, when the goddess Reason, the divine clearness, is really enthroned in France, when the order of Heaven is really followed in China--why then it will be spring."

"This new history of yours," said McPhee, "is a wee bit lacking in documents."

C.S. Lewis

Synchronicities this week

  • June 24 Midsummer/St. John’s Day
  • June 24, 1947 The first flying saucers are sighted over Mount Rainier by pilot Ken Arnold.
  • June 24, 1542 St. John of the Cross, Spanish Carmelite mystic and poet, is born.
  • June 24, 1938 500 ton meteorite lands near Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
  • June 24, 1717 First Free Masons' grand lodge founded in London.
  • June 24, 1374 A sudden outbreak of St. John's Dance causes people in the streets of Aachen, Germany, to experience hallucinations and begin to jump and twitch uncontrollably until they collapse from exhaustion.
  • June 24, 1314 Battle of Bannockburn; Scotland regains independence from England.
  • June 24, 843 Vikings destroy Nantes.
  • June 23 Midsummer’s Eve
  • June 23, 1972 Nixon & Haldeman agree to use CIA to cover up Watergate.
  • June 23, 1942 Germany's latest fighter, a Focke-Wulf FW190 is captured intact when it mistakenly lands at RAF Pembrey in Wales.
  • June 23, 1888 Frederick Douglass is 1st African-American nominated for president.
  • June 23, 1848 Workers’ insurrection in Paris.
  • June 23, 1713 The French residents of Acadia are given one year to declare allegiance to Britain or leave Nova Scotia, Canada. They choose the latter, migrate to Louisiana, and become Cajuns.
  • June 21 Summer Solstice (11:28 a.m.).
  • June 21, 1964 Three civil rights workers-Michael H. Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James E. Chaney-are kidnapped and murdered by the Klan in Mississippi .
  • June 21, 1948 The 33 1/3 RPM LP record is introduced by Columbia Records.
  • June 21, 1944 Ray Davies of the Kinks born in London.
  • June 21, 1916 Mexican troops beat US expeditionary force under Gen Pershing.
  • June 21, 1877 The Molly Maguires, ten Irish immigrant labor activists, are hanged in Pennsylvania prisons.
  • June 20, 1947 Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, gangster, the “man who invented Las Vegas,” shot dead in Beverly Hills, Cal.
  • June 20, 1909 Errol Flynn, greatest of the swashbucklers, born in Hobart, Tasmania.
  • June 20, 1944 Congress charters Central Intelligence Agency.
  • June 20, 1943 Detroit race riot kills 35.
  • June 20, 1893 - Lizzie Borden acquitted in murder of parents in New Bedford Mass.
  • June 20, 1871 Ku Klux Klan trials began in federal court in Oxford Miss.
  • June 20, 1837 Queen Victoria at 18 ascends British throne ; rules for 63 years ending in 1901.
  • June 20, 1756 146 British soldiers imprisoned in the "Black Hole of Calcutta." Most die.
  • June 20, 1631 The Irish village of Baltimore is attacked by Algerian pirates.
  • June 20, 1214 The University of Oxford receives its charter.
  • June 20, 451 Germans & Romans beat Attila the Hun at Catalarinische Fields.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This Week in the Secret History: The Feast of St. Michael and All Angels (September 29)

"Autumn is poignant. It belongs to the angel who carries a point, the Archangel Michael, who wields sword and spear for the people of God against the powers of darkness. The point of Michael’s spear is the poignancy of autumn that pierces our hearts and wakes us from drowsy summer, calling us away from our summer home with a sharp longing for something else.

We humans see the spiritual beauty of a thing most clearly when its time is passing or past. Nothing becomes sacred or legendary until it dies. In autumn, nature’s time is passing. The world is at its most beautiful and poetic because it is passing away. The natural world lingers for a moment on the brink of
this transformation into legend or holiness. It has the bittersweet beauty of something that we are losing. The light turns from the clear, practical white light of summer into the mellow gold that we call antique—like the yellowed pages of an old book, the sepia of old photographs or tarnished brass. Old light; legends of the fall; Indian summer. Nature has one foot over the threshold of eternity and glows with a slant of light from the other side of the door.

Michael is the angel of this transition from time to eternity. The point of his spear is the point where eternity breaks into time and transforms it—both “now, and at the hour of our death,” as the Rosary says. The death of the year, beginning at Michaelmas, acts out this transformation sacramentally.

At the same time, there’s a new kind of life in the air. As dead leaves and withered plants shrivel back toward the ground, it’s as if their summer life is transformed into the tingling energy of the fall air. This combination of the beautifully dying and the bracingly awake is the unmistakable spiritual atmosphere of autumn. Michael is the patron
of the process. The flaming trees say it all. They are a last flare up of gorgeousness before death and, at the same time, a signal fire, a wake-up call to the soul. Michael, whose feast is celebrated one week after the autumnal equinox, is the lord of autumn, the angel of the flaming trees.
" Michael presides over the equinox, the time of the equal night and day, when things hang in the balance. Medieval art often shows Michael holding a pair of balancing scales—just like the Egyptian god Anubis, another lord of transitions and guide of the dead. Those balancing scales are the astrological sign of Libra, which begins a week before Michaelmas."

from Holidays and Holy Nights
by Christopher Hill
copyright 2003

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