First thing every morning throughout five or six months of the year, I build and light a fire in my fireplace. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to stay in bed past my husband so that he can warm the house before I crawl out from underneath my cozy flannel sheets and down comforter, but most mornings my duty is the fire.
When the routine starts in November, I do it begrudgingly. I dislike getting up and fumbling in the dark for my fleece sweatshirt and thermal socks only to walk out into the arctic living room and kneel on the frigid tile in front of the fireplace. This winter I got clever and talked my husband into bringing wood in for the morning before he goes to bed each night. At least now I don’t have to go out in sub-zero temperatures in my pajamas anymore. That seemed really insane.
Winter Solstice and Christmas stories are all about birthing: the light returns, the divine becomes human.
Before I continue about Magdalene, Mary, and birth-giving, ending with a prayer for us all, here are four versions of my season's greetings card for you (including one in French), images celebrating embodiment. Clicking on each thumbnail will take you to a larger display.
What do we do in the darkness – either literal or metaphorical – when our bodies or souls convulse with pain, and our minds can’t stop spinning? This is when we need a spiritual practice. The habit of a achieving a quiet mind and sense of purpose is like any other habit or skill (which is not to say they are functionally different), it is one we must practice.
I’m not talking about monthly rituals here, I’m talking about some form of daily practice, which was once referred to as piety. Piety got itself a bad name when, in the context of Christianity, it became a reference to rigid behavior that justified abusive acts. My grandfather ran away from home (permanently) because he was getting beaten for not saying his catechism correctly. But piety is simply showing reverence for deity in a consistent manner. In other words, some form of daily prayer.
Awake in beauty - rsi m nfr Awake in peace - rsi m htp Awake my soul in beauty and peace Awake in beauty and peace, Great Ones in the Boat of a Million Years Awake in beauty and peace, ancestors, guides, spirit friends and elements Dua! Iti m htp - Hail and welcome!
This is the beginning of my daily morning devotional, based on an ancient Egyptian prayer. As I light a candle* while offering this prayer, I imagine myself in my wholeness as if my soul is waking to a renewed awareness of its immortality. I remember the great continuous thread of existence of which I am a part. I rebirth myself into the present moment, ready to bring the gifts of the past and future into my day.