the seasons

Equinox Rituals: The signs of spring

26 Mar 2019

It takes a while for the seasons to change. Even though the calendar says that one day it’s winter + the next day it’s spring does not mean that nature follows the calendar so precisely that suddenly we wake up and the grass is green, leaves are on the trees, birdies are chirping, baby animals are being born, everyone is outside enjoying the sun, and the days are now warm + beautiful. No, spring emerges slowly. One little sign at a time.

In Swedish, we have the word “vårtecken“,  which literally means “spring signs”. I just love the Swedish word… it’s so poetic. 

In any case, spring doesn’t arrive as an overnight sensation, but rather as a very slow, mysterious, intentional (and sometimes infuriating) process. Especially up here in the nordic lands. The same goes with autumn, actually. The leaves change colors + fall to the ground at different paces. The geese + birds migrate according to their flock. The changing of the seasons is an unfolding rather than a sudden, magical moment.

So, it is with all of life, actually. But, somewhere along the way, we lost our deep connection with nature. We forgot that we, too, are part of the slow, evolving, unfolding process of growth and change. Of course, there are sudden moments that shift our lives drastically. Unseen happenings, uncontrollable outside circumstances. But, we, ourselves, are part of nature. We are meant, I believe, to live in the tune with the earth + the moon + the stars. And when our lives are in rhythm with the heartbeat of the planet, then we are as stable as the tall, old trees in the forest + as fluid as the great, wide ocean. We are able to calmly shift + flow with nature, accepting, experiencing, and allowing change to come + go + come again. 

This Equinox Rituals series of mine did not go at all like I had planned. I did not follow through on posting here every other day, like I did during my Midwinter Rituals. And, while I am truly sorry for not being a consistent presence here, the series did affect + teach me. I only wish I could have shared it with you. But my soul led me elsewhere. And the only thing that I can glean from my “failed” sharing of this journey with you as I intended, is that I had not discerned properly + deeply enough before I started the journey.

However, I believe that this was meant to be a solo journey all along. Or maybe it just evolved into that. I did share some posts + reflections in the beginning. Which felt right. But, as I sank deeper into the process, I sank deeper into myself. Unable to put into blog posts what was going on inside of me. How I, myself, was experiencing this shifting in the seasons of my life.

I do want to acknowledge that I set out with an intention to inspire you. I had a plan + I shared that plan with you. But, I am certain that you understand, that, as I mentioned above, my plan evolved. It was not that I just ignored my blog posts. I literally could not put words to the transitions + thoughts in my own head + heart. I journaled as much as possible. But, it was not meant to be shared, as I was processing + trying to understand my own shifts + feelings.

Still, I have learned a valuable lesson about planning + offering a series to share on my blog. And I will be even more intentional + prepared next time. I hope you stick around to see what will arise later on in this space.

The way this series turned out, in the end, is actually a sign of spring in itself.  It is a reminder of the long, arduous, beautiful, unfolding process of transitions + change. And it is a clear teacher of living in the present moment. Had I stressed out about getting posts out there every other day, I would have forced things + I would have surely missed out on the present moments that have revealed so much to me over the past month.

Being present is not always easy. Or fun. And it is often very confusing. Or just blah feeling, to be honest. I’ve been feeling all of those things since the end of February. Very aware of all of the blahness. But, also noticing little pockets of bliss + joy. And sitting with the pockets of deep confusion + despair.

But, staying present + being mindful helps me become aware. Acceptance of the right now empowers me to choose how I respond to any + every situation. So, throughout these past weeks, when I felt disheartened and stressed at work, I acknowledged that, took a moment to breathe, and even literally lit candles in my office to help me create the energy that I needed. When I felt disappointed that it snowed again instead of turning warm + sunny, I grumbled a little + then chose to make a cup of coffee + soak up the beauty of the falling snowflakes. There is still a need to turn inward + take it slow, I thought to myself.

By realizing that it all is an unfolding + meant to be this way, I was able to feel inspired by the process. Living in the present moment allows me to see + observe + feel the process. And, in being mindful, I am able to literally see all of the changes in myself + in nature.

These past few weeks, because I have lived with the rhythm of nature, I have seen all of the signs of spring as they slowly reveal themselves. I have also seen all of the signs of a deep, soul change occurring in my life.

My Equinox Rituals series comes to an end with this post. The last 4 cards took me through March’s full moon + the Spring Equinox. A time to celebrate + feel the energy of balance + illumination. For me, now that the seasons have officially changed (by the shifting of the days to more hours of daylight than darkness), I feel as if I have been ushered into a new phase. It’s not a big, flashy new phase. But, it is deeper + higher all at the same time. 

As I have eluded to, the  past month has been weird. Just go back + read my posts from February until now. I have felt off + disconnected + a bit lost. But, I knew that I needed to feel that way. I knew that this wilderness, this confusion, this off-ness was meant to be. So, I flowed with it. Doing my daily stuff. Work. Sleep. Rest. Drink + eat. Laugh. Repeat. But, I also made sure to do whatever rituals or disciplines I felt would serve me on any given day. I meditated a little. Changed up my podcast routine for my morning walk (no news, only inspiration). Lit candles. Pulled cards. Journaled a lot. Followed the phases of the moon.

Faithfully following this moon cycle with my oracle cards, beginning with the new moon on March 5, has been super crazy amazing for me. Somehow I intuited one word for my intention during this cycle: becoming. Turns out, it has been the most perfect word for this confusing, blah, weird time I’ve been moving through.

There has been one underlying, obvious message that my soul has revealed over + over again in my cards. And that is… that I am already doing it. I am already on the right track. All I need to do is to walk steady. There’s no rush. I may not even see the path or track I am on, but I am already on it. No need to overthink anything. No need to seek out something else, something new. The call is just to wait. I am simply already becoming me. The only thing to do is to begin to trust myself + my path. To own it. To step into it. To see that I am already doing it. To understand that I already know who I am + who I am meant to be.

And, then, with these last 4 cards of the Equinox Rituals series + the moon reading I did on Sunday, I understood clearly what has been evolving + emerging all along. Because I slowly have moved through this season of uncertain, weird transition, I have also risen to a higher knowledge of who I have always been. And, finally, I am ready to step into her. I am ready to embody her.

I needed to first prepare myself to know what I needed to release. And, that has been a long, tough, weird process which was triggered by the United Methodist Church’s debate on the ordination of LGBTQIA persons. Which, of course, left me without a place to practice my ministry 9 years ago + left me without a welcome yet again just a few weeks ago.

This discriminating decision dug up all of my old feelings of disappointment, anger, and confusion. But, this time, after all of these years, I sat with all of my feelings. I felt them. I ignored them. I held them close to my heart. I rejected them. I let myself imagine all kinds of scenarios + possibilities. And then, finally, this past weekend…. I believe that I released it all.

I know how to move forward. I do not know what lies ahead, but I know how to start. Or, rather, I know that I have already started.

My regret has been that I never fulfilled my calling to be an ordained minister. I have never embodied that part of me. I never finished walking that path. And, when all of the new controversy in the church where I held out hope that I would one day be ordained returned, I thought it might be my chance to get back on track. But, with a new, even more discriminatory vote, I found myself even more confused + further away than ever. And, yet, I felt inspired to seek out other possibilities. Could this be just the kick in the ass that I needed to get me back in the church? Should I not try to fight with the institution + weasel my way into it again?

I pondered all of those things. And I pondered even more crazy things, like going out on my own. Creating my own spiritual tribe. Doing nothing at all. My time in the wilderness forced me to face it all.

The truth is, I even admitted to myself that I had not only been kicked out, I also had also chosen to walk away.

I had chosen my path long ago. And all along, my path has been right.

So, if my soul is revealing to me right now, in the changing of the seasons, as I wait for the new life of spring to emerge, that this path has been right all along, then I really am already doing + becoming all that I am meant to do + become.

There is no need to change my path. But, is was time for me to consider the consequences that came with surrendering my place, my calling, as a spiritual leader. And in considering all of that, I have come to realize that I already am a spiritual leader. I want to grow + focus on it even more, but I am been living it all along. Just not in the way that I thought I would.

Now, with the signs of spring all around me, I also see the signs of my birth into a new phase. I have seen the signs all along. It it time to finally release all of the regret. It is time to look around at the path that I am already on and to begin to embody the priestess that I am today. Where I am today.

I will not seek ordination in the United Methodist Church. I will not choose to fight for it + try to force my way into it. Not because it is an unworthy fight, but because that is not my path any longer.

My path is the path of a contemplative. A mystic, teacher, and priestess. Living an earth-based spirituality, rooted in Christianity but rising to a universal belief in energy + love.

Will I ever be ordained? I do not know. Nor do I care. I have a theological education. I have a foundation in organized religion. And I have the experience of working + living a life of full-time ministry. I do not need any more accolades or certifications or degrees. I do want to continue learning + growing + educating myself throughout my entire life. But, I do not need more letters behind my name.

With all of my soul, I am simply called to be me. To continue my journey as humbly + honestly as possible. My sole purpose is to be true to my calling to become me + to share a message of hope, love, and peace through my words, images, and life.

How I will do that…. whether a spiritual community will form or not, whether I publish books or hold workshops or work with teenagers does not matter. The how will unfold and emerge and evolve just as the seasons unfold, emerge, and evolve.

Nature teaches me that the how does not matter. The process, the path, the journey, the way is the purpose. The changes, transitions, and seasons of life are what matter. How it happens doesn’t matter. Nor do the big, flashy moments. Rather, it’s the little, every single day, regular life, signs of hope + life + transformation that show us the slow, intentional rhythm of the earth + reveal to us that change is happening in Mother Nature and deep in our souls.

Those are the signs of spring.

xoxo. liz.

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