Today is just another day in our ordinary life. But, it is so very sacred in its ordinariness because it marks the beginning of one of the most contemplative times of the year for me. It’s not really a holiday season, but when asked what my favorite holiday is, I always reply, “Lent“. For me, this 6 week long festival represents what the whole of life is all about: living in rhythm with the seasons, observing the cycles of life, and realizing once again, that the medicine in it all is found right in the middle of the beauty, struggles, boredom, and inspiration of our ordinary life.
Lent, beginning with Ash Wednesday today, is 40 days (not counting Sundays) of self reflection in the Christian tradition. And while I do not claim any religious tradition these days, due to my desire to seek the river of truth that flows through all, Christianity is the tradition in which I was born, raised, and worked for more than 30 years. It is my foundational lens. And, Lent, has long been my favorite holy time within the life of the church.
It’s pretty obvious to me why the Lenten journey stirs my soul. It is recognized as a 40 day journey into our own soul…reflecting Jesus’s own time wandering in the desert for 40 days. A time, according to the stories, that was filled with temptation, loneliness, and fear. But, also a time of silence, solitude, peace, and soul connections deep in the quiet, mystical desert. In the end, this contemplative desert time, much like the vision quest of many Native American traditions, prepared Jesus for the ministry + work that he would go on to do for the next few years before he was killed. The desert showed him his path, his way, his calling. And he responded to the call.
This is a call that we all have, I believe. To be true to our selves, our purpose, our destiny. And, the only way to discover that is by going deep within our own souls, facing all of our demons, sinking deep into the earth’s wisdom, connecting to the divinity that flows through us + our ancestors + every living thing, embracing our own unique gifts, discovering the medicine that we have to offer to the world, and committing to emerging from our “desert”, ready to embody our soul’s calling right in the middle of everyday life, right in the middle of all of our ordinary days.
Lent can be, should we choose to embark on a 40 day journey of our own, a mystical time for us. Offering us medicine, wisdom, and inspiration. We don’t have to believe in Jesus, or in anything for that matter. But, he is an example (one of many) of the archetype of the hero’s journey. Someone who has been called out, finds their sacred center, and returns ready to embody their own soul.
This is the journey that I deeply believe to which we are all called. This is the journey of life. The journey of our ordinary days. The rhythm of life. The cycle of seasons.
Rest. Receive. Rise. Retreat.
Life, growth, death, rest. Life again.
The first day of Lent, which is today, is known as Ash Wednesday. There is a mystical, powerful ritual that I have practiced, both as a regular person + as a priestess, of the anointing of ashes. On this day, it is appropriate to mark our foreheads with ashes (or with dirt from the ground, in my opinion) in order to remember our mortality. To reconnect + reground ourselves in the knowledge that we are a part of it all. We come from dust (earth + stardust) and we return to dust. But, it’s not a cycle that ends with death. It is a cycle, a rhythm, that is an eternal flow of transformation + evolution.
Marking others with dust and saying out loud to them that they are dust + will return to dust… and having myself marked as well… has been one of the deepest spiritual honors I’ve had. To look another deep into their eyes + connect with them in both our humanity + our divinity is powerful. For, this is the day in which we are called out into our own contemplative desert (should we choose to hear + respond to the calling). This is the day our 6 week journey begins. 6 weeks, 40 days of self reflection. Our own vision quest. A chance to honestly look at who we are + who we are called to be + and how all of that meets in the messiness of our ordinary life. A chance to think about our humanity, our divinity, and the rhythm of our life.
As the years have passed, as I have celebrated many Lenten seasons, I have come to understand the flow of my life. Lent ends when time Easter + Spring are celebrated. And that’s on purpose. It’s a reminder that the end is not the end. It’s only a new beginning.
We don’t have to look far to see that this is true in all of nature. Sunrise surrenders to sunset, which again transforms to a sunrise the next morning. Leaves + flowers grow + bloom, only to surrender to death in the autumn, rest during the winter, and then rise again in the spring to bloom + grow, repeating the cycle again + again. Animals are born, grow, hibernate, and wake again come spring. Even within 24 hours we see the rhythm of life… we wake, work, create, love, settle in after sunset, and rest during the night, only to wake again the next day. Refreshed (hopefully) + ready to work + create + love again.
Living my life in the midst of the flow of these natural cycles gives me purpose meaning. It means choosing to align my life with the rhythm of the cosmos + the earth… for I am a part of it all. So, it is only natural that my highest way of living is to live in alignment with that from which I came.
As I have spent the past few years sink deep into the wisdom of the earth, the inspiration of the spirit, my own intuition, I have come to see that there is medicine within each season. Medicine which feeds the soul + helps to bring the sacred into my everyday, ordinary life.
This Lent, my journey in the desert will be very different than past ones. I want to spend my time creating an understanding of mystical, contemplative medicine of living in rhythm with the seasons. So, for the next 4 weeks I will write about winter, spring, summer, and autumn. One season per week. My intention is to share about the medicine + the archetypes (universal examples) of each season here on the blog. And, then, to share how we can tap into the energy of the seasons + align our lives with them.
I intend to explore + create + share a way to live life. A path to follow. A way to bring mysticism, ritual, wildness, and magic to our everyday lives. Or better yet, a way to recognize the sacredness that is already present in our ordinary life. Right now. Right here. Today.
And what better holy season in which to create all of this than Lent? The 40 days inspired by a journey into the desert. The 6 weeks that call us to celebrate our humanity, our divinity, and the beauty of the cycles + rhythms of our spiritual + physical lives.
Today I am inviting you, who seek a spirituality that meets the ordinary, to join me on a contemplative, mystical, spiritual way of life lived out right in the middle of everyday, ordinary life. It is the way of nature + the rhythm of the seasons. This is a path for anyone who wishes to discover a way of life that is filled with the medicine of peace, wisdom, and love. A way that soothes our spirit, inspires our soul, and calls us forth to then offer our own unique medicine to the world.
So, today, I start with this introduction. And then, over the next 4 Wednesdays, I hope to share with you to medicine + energies of each season.
- Winter: The way of the mystic
The cold, quiet, season of rest. A time for connecting with our divinity, for meditating, for tapping into the wisdom within.
- Spring: The way of the priestess
The season of rising. Of blooming into the power that we have within. Of stepping up to our own leadership. A time to engage in the rituals of everyday life.
- Summer: The way of the wild woman
The time to grow, mature, and let loose. To get grounded, to wander, to be free. The season for tapping into our wild souls. For connecting with the earth, our intuition, and our instincts.
- Autumn: The way fo the witch
The way of the ancient, wise, and mysterious. The season of turning inward. Of surrendering + releasing. The time for vision quests, for discovering our own medicine, for claiming our own story + channeling the medicine that we find within ourselves.
The way of the seasons is contemplative + mystical. It is a path that is filled with wisdom, medicine, and energies that teach us the rhythms of life. And the rhythm of a life lived in alignment with the all of nature is slow, mindful, and mystical. Most importantly, though, it means choosing the path of trust in the vibes, the energies, the flow, and the unfolding of it all. It is on this path that we begin to see the sacred in the every day. It is the path of recognizing the divinity, the holiness, of ordinary life… and of learning to abide + embody the oneness of all things.
This Lent, my journey will be a journey through the year. It will be my way of reflecting on the rhythms that flow from season to season. From rest (winter) to rising (spring) to respond (summer) to retreat (autumn) to resting again. It is the rhythm of the months, of the days, of the sunrises + sunsets, of moon phases, of the animal + plant world, of our own lives. It is the path of learning to follow the patterns of mother nature, which are our own patterns as well. Of following the example of Jesus. Who retreats to the desert, receives his calling, and then responds. Only to repeat that pattern over + over again in his daily life. Rest (alone time in the dark + the desert), receive, rise + respond. Retreat. And rest again. Winter, spring, summer, autumn. And so it goes. On + on. Again + again.
As each week passes, it is my hope that, as I move through the medicine + the energies of the seasons, sharing my own wanderings + callings, my own cycles of ordinary life, that you will find peace + inspiration in the rhythm of it all.
May this be a blessed Lent. A blessed journey deep down into our souls. With a little time set apart each week to sink into the medicine of the rhythms of ordinary life. xoxo. liz