About this blog

This Blog is named after an ancient gnoseological riddle which hints hidden, disseminated, omnipresent wisdom.
I invite you to search, listen and observe with me for "the word of tree, whisper of stone, and humming together of the abyss and stars."


All Hallows' Eve

Days are getting ever shorter and colder, the sun, even at midday, is lower in the sky. (This Sunday is the end of Daylight Saving Time!) Tatters of cold mist hang on leafless branches of bushes and trees. There is still no snow to brighten the days and nights, the land is wet, cold, dark and brown, and nature is shutting down in preparation for her winter sleep. This is the season to remember our dead with respect and thankfulness.
    In my native land this is the season to visit family graves. People decorate graves with mums and other hardy autumn flowers, and also with bright fragile straw-like immortelles. And of course candles and oil lamps are lighted and kept shining for at least two days. In this autumn season cemeteries and kirkyards of Central Europe, which had been dark up until then, suddenly burst out with lights and look almost like another city illuminated with hundreds of flickering flames.
    Decorating graves and lighting candles are ancient customs of the Feasts of All Saints and Souls. They predate Christianity and harken back to ancient Celtic roots of my native land. Celtic people called this holiday Samhain and perhaps more than any other holy day it was a liminal season, a time when the boundary between our world and the other was thinner and could be crossed, especially from the other side. Thus besides fires and lights lit for those who had passed away, Celts used to keep an extra place at the dinner table or by the family hearth for those who departed and should they come for a visit, they were to be treated with kindness and respect.
    Only bad, guilty and disrespectful people were to be afraid of their departed ancestors and family members. All other awaited this season perhaps with some trepidation but also with excitement. These are the deepest and also more genuine and spiritual origins of our commercialized and secularized Trick-or-treating and other Halloween customs. Now think, what does it say about our culture if frightening each other and fear of ghosts (be it playful and teasing), so completely underline our modern celebrations! Does it mean that we feel guilty because of our disrespect towards our ancestors?
    Of course, many can claim that all this is shallow and foreign to the core of our Judeo-Christian faith. But surprisingly, the Hebrew Bible also knows ancestral spirits, albeit their presence is predominantly hidden, suppressed and largely neglected. On this All Saints Day we will search for the biblical healing ghosts and hear the prophetic promise of their resurrection. Come to remember and celebrate our departed and be healed.


Celebrating Reformation Herstory

“I’m rich” said Luther. “My God has given me a nun and has added three children. I don’t worry about any debts, for when my Katy has paid them there will be more.”
    Martin Luther made this comment at the family table in April, 1532. It was faithfully recorded by his friend and colleague Johann Schlaginhaufen and eventually published by Johannes Mathesius as Table Talk #1457.
    There are thousands of similar off the cuff comments and observations made in the characteristic robust and witty style of the Wittenberg Reformer. They reflect relaxed setting, intimate atmosphere, and informal, often touching conversations with family and friends.
    Table Talk (Tischreden) makes it clear, that the Reformation was so much more than just a new theological teaching or reformation of the Church. It was a radical shift in the very structure of society. For instance, we can observe the emergence of an intimate family founded in love, respect and mutual care.
    That nun which Martin spoke about was his wife Katharina von Bora. He lovingly called her “my Katy”. She escaped a monastery and eventually married “Her Doctor”. Together they ended up having six children brought into this mutually respectful, sometime bantering, but always loving relationship. She admired the somehow impractical, idealistic and folksy Doctor of theology, while he deeply respected her motherly instincts and admired her economic prowess (she took care of a household of about forty members!). But Katy was not just an effective “hausfrau”. Even while nursing babies she actively participated in the political, cultural and theological discussions which were led at least partly in Latin.
    Thus this marriage and family of a former nun and a former monk was so much more than just another family, it was an integral part of the thorough reformation and realignment of medieval times and emergence of early modern culture. If we celebrate Reformation Sunday, we must not forget Katy Luther.
           Reformation history
           is HERSTORY too!
    Come this Sunday to celebrate Reformation, one of its heroines, and its changing cultural paradigms.