Extended Fasting for the Healing and Metamorphosis of Body, Soul, and Spirit

Presented By: Lelan Harris
Why Fast During Advent?
 
For nearly 1,500 years it has been a mystical soul practice to fast during Advent in preparation for Christmas and the Holy Nights.  I invite you to join me in the practice of this ancient discipline from December 1-21.  
 
When .  .  .  not if
 
In the Gospel of Matthew (chapter 6, which contains the Lord’s Prayer), Jesus says:
 
When you give to the needy ....
When you pray ....
When you fast ....
 
Not if you give to the needy, or if you pray, or if you fast.
 
Absurd . . . or wise?
 
Seekers and saints throughout the millennia have consistently affirmed that fasting is an essential discipline.  This includes Rudolf Steiner:
 
"I want to mention something here which will seem absurd to most people.  This is the matter of fasting.  Awareness of the significance of fasting has been totally lost.  Fasting is enormously significant, however, for creating rhythm in our astral body.
 
"He who fasts blocks the astral body and develops no desire to eat.  The astral body becomes inactive then, and the whole rhythm of the physical body with its innate wisdom works upward into the astral body to rhythmize it.  Like the imprint of a seal, the harmony of the physical body impresses itself upon the astral body.  It would transfer much more permanently if the astral body were not continuously being made irregular by desires, passions, and longings, including 'spiritual' desires and yearnings.
 
"It is more necessary for the human being of today to consciously carry rhythm into all spheres of higher life than it was in earlier times.  Just as rhythm is implanted in the physical body by God, so man must take up the responsibility to make his astral body rhythmical.  He must arrange it for his astral body as the Spirit of Nature arranges it for the lower realms."
 
~ Rudolf Steiner, Esoteric Development, Lecture 1: ”Inner Development”.  Presented in Berlin, Germany on Dec. 7, 1905 (GA 54).
 
Why Fast with Lelan and Others?
 
Fasting groups and meetups are increasingly popular around the world.  I am aware of one Keto group that numbers over 1,000 members!
 
The dual phenomena of an increased interest and commitment to fasting, plus doing so in groups small and large, is evidence of a largely unconscious natural initiation process.
 
However, the majority of fasting plans and groups are limited to materialistic and/or exoteric approaches to physical and emotional wellness.
 
Lelan brings decades of experience not only with many fasting methods and lengths, but has also served and assisted over a thousand people on their healing, development, and integration journeys.
 
What . . . and now
 
A generally agreed upon definition of extended or prolonged fasting is not eating food or meal replacements for a period of 3 days or longer, drinking only water.
 
Other common lengths are 5, 8, 12, and 21 day fasts, each of which opens us to different body, soul, and spirit possibilities.
 
It is also possible to link a series of fasting periods together, interspersed with one or more days of light eating in-between the fasts.
 
Why . . . and how
 
There are innumerable fasting methods for the transformation of body, soul, and spirit.  Innumerable?  Really?  Yes, innumerable because the most effective fast is literally tailored to the individual.  No two truly effective fasts are precisely alike.
 
This very practical course will assist you to identify fasting practices that fit your needs and goals, as well as provide encouragement and support as you engage in the exercises.
 
What will be offered this Advent season is a range of conscious methods and precise means to support your individual path toward healing and integration.  The addition of appropriate soul and spirit exercises can ultimately lead to miracles and metamorphosis.
 
Adding a healthy group component to the individual elements of our fasting disciplines increases the potential for unexpected perceptions and expanded understandings.
 
Further, Lelan will be available to help you perceive and follow through on the guidance offered by your Guardian Angel and God before, during, and after your fast.
 
Oh, and by the way, Lelan will also be one of the people in the group fasting with you!
 
FACILITATOR

Lelan Harris is a founding member and the executive director of Wise Cosmos Educational Initiative.  He is an experiential explorer and integrative practitioner of many human development and spiritual paths.  For Lelan, every day is an adventure of discovering the wisdom of the cosmos -- God in every guise -- and then sharing those treasures through healing, coaching, serving, and pioneering.  Lelan has been married to Julie for over 30 years, and among their greatest delights together is playing in and with nature through every season, ecosystem, and altitude; self-guided town and country tours; plus art, music, and dance.


12/01/2021 - 12/21/2021
DAILY GROUP SESSIONS
 
Registration includes access to daily 30-minute online Zoom meetings.  You may participate live or view the video replays that will be made available within 24 hours.
 
Based upon a survey of the registrants, the live sessions will be scheduled at different times on different days so that no matter what time zone you live in, it is hoped that most registrants will be able to frequently participate in live gatherings.
 
​The video recordings will be made available within 24 hours and accessible through December 31.  Unlike typical teaching courses offered on WiseCosmos.org, participants will not retain permanent access to these videos.  The reason for this is that what occurs during each person’s Advent fast is very personal.  When the fast is over, our memories of our experiences together – and what we learn from and do with them in the future – is what will matter most.
 
COST:  $210
 
INDIVIDUAL SESSIONS
 
Registrants are also invited to schedule one-on-one Zoom meetings with Lelan in order to work together on their specific questions and individual needs in order to gain increased understanding, healing, development, and metamorphosis.
 
COST:  Individually determined
Wise Cosmos Educational Initiative
Click Here To Register  

For questions related to the course or if you have difficulties with registration, please email us at Registration@wisecosmos.org.
Question:
I am really interested in the fasting group.  However, I have never fasted. I wanted to ask you before I register if this is something for a beginner?  Reading the description it does feel it will be very helpful.

Answer:
Yes, this opportunity is open to (and perfect for) anyone who feels drawn or guided to it.  We will help you and encourage you every step of the way!

Question:
Is this group open to people who are committed to fasting during Advent, but not necessarily for the entire 21 days?

Answer:
Correct, there are no "requirements" regarding how many hours or days you fast.  Some participants will fast for shorter lengths of time, others longer.  Some will link multiple short- or medium-length fasts together, interspersed by periods of light eating.

Question:
Can I participate even if I don't actually do any fasting?  The way you describe it intrigues me to want to learn about fasting, but I'm not ready to commit to actually doing it in December.

Answer:
Baby steps are totally okay, but this group is only for those ready to give the spiritual adventure of fasting an actual try.  Are you willing to commit to foregoing at least one meal during the 21 day period, dedicating that meal time and energy to focusing on your relationship with God?  If yes, then you meet the commitment requirement and are most welcome you to join us.

Question:
​I am intrigued and interested in your wonderful fasting offering. Please tell me why you chose the dates you did. And, 21 days because it is the longest time to fast safely? (Rather than the entirety of advent).

Answer:
I originally really wanted to offer this as a 28- or 40-day period, and started down those paths, but a variety of circumstances and counsel led to the final decision of 21 days.  That said, people are most welcome to start earlier and/or go longer than December 1-21.  And yes, there are both physical and soul reasons why 21 days is one of several "optimum" periods for fasting, as well as an optimal period for group work.

As to why specifically December 1-21, the end date was chosen because there is soul/mystical significance to consciously concluding a fast on the Winter Solstice.  Interesting tidbit:  Ancient wisdom guides us to NOT fast from Christmas Eve through Epiphany.  I won't say more here, but we can take this up during one of our daily times together.

Question:
I am wondering if fasting is still possible when pregnant? I will be 2 months by then so I'm not sure if this would be the right time for me. Please let me know your thoughts.

Answer:
I believe the best (and also most consistent) medical and spiritual advice is to sustain a healthy meal rhythm during pregnancy.  However, that doesn't mean pregnant mothers cannot engage in the discipline of fasting . . . we just get to be creative!

One option during the early months of pregnancy is to consult with your medical doctor (or equivalent) about the possibility of overnight fasting for one or more nights (whether consecutive or intermittent or a combination).  If you receive the go-ahead, you may then bring the intentionality and consciousness of fasting to an overnight period of perhaps 9-12 hours (ask your doctor about how long) . . . even while you are sleeping.  (The relationship between fasting and sleeping would be a great topic during one of our daily Zoom group sessions.)

Another option throughout pregnancy is to fast while still eating.  I know, that sounds like a contradiction.  The key is that fasting has the potential to be an integrative discipline of body, soul, and spirit.  So we can bring all the soul and spirit elements of fasting at the "abstaining-from-food" level of commitment, while still eating.  Further, you can pray and partner with the spiritual world to experience as much as possible the developmental experiences and benefits of abstaining from food while not actually abstaining.  (Exploring how this works and how to do it would be another wonderful topic during our Zoom sessions.)

A third option is to fast from something other than food.  There are many possibilities, both classic and modern.  The key is to identify something in your life that would be an equivalent or even greater "sacrifice" to your soul as abstaining from food is.

Question:
I’m gung-ho and excited for the course.  It will be wonderful to be with you. It sounds like, in addition to the option of scheduling extra one-on sessions with you, we will be equipped to tailor the fast to our needs and be supported as those needs come to light. Is that accurate?  Also, is there anything I can do to prepare for the 1st of December? I’m a healthy, strong, 30 year old male, but I’m as lean as they come. Should I try to put on more muscle or fat? Should I be settling into lighter meals the days prior? Etc.

Answer:
Yes, I will help each person tailor the various body, soul, and spirit elements of the fast to their individual needs and goals.  This includes offering feedback, suggestions, and/or guidance as your needs and goals may shift and change (or you may be tempted to shift and change them!) before, during, and perhaps even after your fast.

And yes, between the time people register and our official December 1 start date, I will provide some information and suggestions to assist those who may wish to begin preparing -- or even begin fasting -- early.

For you specifically (and those similar to your self-description), there is no need to pack on additional body fat or muscle prior to an extended fast.  At the body level, the two most important preparations for every body type, regardless of fitness level or anything else, is to (1) increase your nutrition and water intake to optimum levels, and (2) begin weaning yourself off everything non-nutritional -- sugar and sugar substitutes, coffee, unhealthy fats, so-called energy supplements and drinks, alcohol, excessive salt, etc.

Question:
I would love to join your group.  Because I prefer to meet live, can you tell me the times of the meetings so I can see how often I can attend?

Answer:
As people register, we will send each one a survey asking them to indicate what time zone(s) they will be in between December 1-21, plus what times each day work best for them to participate during the live gatherings.  We will then aggregate the data to find the times that work best for everyone.  The goal will be to find times that (A) work best for the most people each day, plus (B) make it possible for everyone to participate live at least every other day.  Understandably, the schedule won't be finalized until just before the start date, but I would anticipate having enough registration commitments before that date to offer a tentative schedule at least a few days before then.

Question:
[First email]  It was such wonderful timing to see the Wise Cosmos email about your Advent fasting event, as my mind has just recently turned to the theme after a number of years of not doing so.  I'm not ready for such a long stretch (I've only ever done all day and night) but am delighted you are presenting it from an anthroposophical perspective.  Great quote from Rudolf Steiner, too. 

[Second email]  Lelan, today I am doing a fast (one day, two nights) for the first time in years -- and your post and quote from Steiner are helping me experience it differently than in the past -- I'm so grateful for the work you are doing.

Answer:
I am so excited for you!  Thanks for sharing -- it encourages me.  Blessings on your adventure!

Question:
Thank you for your generous offering.  I can’t fast this advent but I am going to give up British tv series wine and sugar and do intermittent fasts every other day.

Answer:
Done from the soul and spirit place I know you will be engaging those practices from, you really will be doing a version of an extended fast.  Blessings!