Dearest monks and artists,
We are so excited to be offering our online program Sacred Seasons: A Yearlong Journey through the Celtic Wheel of the Year in a community format starting tomorrow with the spring equinox! In addition to the wonderful mini-retreats we created for each season, I am also hosting a live webinar session for each of the eight Celtic thresholds so we can join together in ritual and honoring. We also will have some added content on working with herbs and a vibrant online forum. To celebrate, I offer you an excerpt from our reflection on the spring equinox.
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing.
I believe deeply that the seasons have a great deal of spiritual wisdom to offer us if we make space to listen. They teach us of the cycles and seasons of the earth and of our own lives. We are invited into the movements of blossoming, fullness, letting go, and rest, over and over again. Just like the lunar cycles of the moon's waxing and waning, so too does the body of the earth call us into this healing rhythm.
The spring equinox is on March 20th when the sun hovers above the equator, and day and night are equal length. This is considered the New Year in Persian tradition as well as the astrological calendar. Spring is a time of balance, renewal, and welcoming new life into the world.
As the northern hemisphere enters the season of blossoming we are called to tend the places of our lives that still long for winter's stillness as well as those places ready to burst forth into the world in a profusion of color. It takes time to see and listen. Around us the world is exploding in a celebration of new life, and we may miss much of it in our seriousness to get the important things of life done.
Poet Lynn Ungar has a wonderful poem titled "Camas Lilies" in which she writes: "And you — what of your rushed and / useful life? Imagine setting it all down — / papers, plans, appointments, everything, / leaving only a note: "Gone to the fields / to be lovely. Be back when I'm through / with blooming." Spring is a time to set aside some of the plans and open ourselves to our own blooming.
There is a playfulness and spontaneity to the season of spring that invites us to join this joyful abandon. We are called to both listen deeply to the blossoming within ourselves as well as to forget ourselves — setting aside all of our seriousness about what we are called to do and simply enter the space of being. In this field of possibility we discover new gifts.
The fertility and flowering of spring speaks of an abundantly creative God who is at the source of the potent life force beating at the heart of the world. Created in God's image, we are called to participate in this generous creativity ourselves. Our own flowering leads us to share our gifts in service to others.
In the Hebrew Scriptures the promise of God's abundance is often conceived of as blossoming in the desert. In that harsh landscape, a flower bursting forth from the dry land is a symbol of divine generosity, fruitfulness, and hope. Hope is a stance of radical openness to the God of newness and possibility. When we hope, we acknowledge that God has an imagination far more expansive than ours.
Where are you experiencing a new flowering forth?
Won’t you join us by celebrating spring together?
(with apologies to southern hemisphere monks, as we will be traveling through the year on the northern cycle)
With great and growing love,
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE
Photo © Christine Valters Paintner