The Alchemy of Pentecost

Western depiction of the Pentecost, painted by Jean Restout, 1732


Pentecost commemorates the Descent of the Holy Spirit from Heaven upon the Twelve apostles, the Virgin Mary and other followers of Jesus on Earth, and marks the beginning of the Church. During the Descent, while those on whom the Spirit had descended were speaking in tongues, God is heard saying: “And in the last days, I will pour out my spirit upon every sort of flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy and your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams.”

The present day religious feast of Pentecost (aka. the 50th day) is celebrated seven weeks after Easter Sunday (27 May 2012, etc.). Easter (aka. Jesus Christ’s Resurrection) takes place on the first Sunday following the first full moon following the vernal equinox. In the West, the earliest possible date of Pentecost is May 10 and the latest possible date is June 13. The Sun is currently in sidereal Taurus from May 15 to June 16. The AM47 Point of Elemental EARTH in the Azores (Mid-sidereal Taurus) currently falls on the end of May or the beginning of June, which places it squarely in the middle of the date-range of Pentecost! This year the AM47 PoEE falls on 30 May 2012.

The Cult of the Holy Spirit is a religious sub-culture developed in the Azores, inspired by Christian millenarian mystics. The worship of the Holy Spirit (aka. IHVH: Fire, Water, Air, Earth) is it’s central doctrine. According to a prophecy, a “third age” would be governed by the Holy Spirit and would represent a monastic governance in which the hierarchy of the Church would be unnecessary and infidels would unite with Christians. These theories became associated with the Franciscan Order and feared by the hierarchy of the Church, which is falling right now :) The Cult of the Holy Spirit is not dependent on the formal organization of the Church, nor are the clergy needed to participate in the practices; there are no intermediaries between the devotees and the Divine.

There are many festivals in the Azores. The most common festival is the Holy Ghost Festival or ‘Festa do Divino Espirito Santo’ which is held on Pentecost. This festival celebrates the “third person of the Godhead” and is a day for some lucky poor person (usually a child) to be named Empress or Emperor for a day. The new royalty is crowned and adorned in silver and escorted through the streets with a cow (Taurus!) decorated with colourful paper flowers, to the local church where a Mass is said. The celebrants then move the Procession to the local fellowship hall where the silver adornments are moved to the Altar. Then a special meal of Holy Ghost Soup or ‘Sopas do Espirito Santo’ is distributed to all in need. The Soup is made from ritually prepared beef cattle (Taurus!) specifically killed for the event. Holy Ghost Soup is traditionally prepared in large bowls set in volcanically active craters. Festivities commence with a uniquely Azorean Bullfight (Taurus!) with ropes instead of swords :)

According to legend, King Arthur always gathered all his knights at the round table for a feast and a quest on Pentecost: “So ever the king had a custom that at the feast of Pentecost in especial, afore other feasts in the year, he would not go that day to meat until he had heard or seen of a great marvel.”

Goethe declared Pentecost “das liebliche Fest” – the lovely Feast. He spoke of Pentecost as a time of greening and blooming in fields, woods, hills, mountains, bushes and hedges, of birds singing new songs, meadows sprouting fragrant flowers, and of festive sunshine gleaming from the skies and coloring the earth.


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