Ash Wednesday

With our pancakes eaten, the spritual calendar now rolls to Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Because I have no personal history with Ash Wednesday, I create my own story for it. In my mind’s eye, I picture the fire from yesterday’s pancake ovens now cold and ash-y. There’s something quite poignant and relevant in that image…the ashes of yesterday’s celebrations now giving rise to a new round of spiritual practice and perspective.

This is particularly fitting for me, as Ash Wednesday usually follows closely after Kim Week — the week in which I celebrate Valentine’s Day, my birthday, Jeff’s and my two wedding anniversaries (we were married both civilly and spiritually), and my Adoption Day. I am well and truly celebrated out; a quiet and chocolate-free period of introspection feels welcome.

Like most of us, I grew up hearing about Lent in terms of deprivation and sacrifice, and I guess that is a genuine part of the picture. But discussion with close friends a few years ago began to put it into a different context, one which we have embraced ever since. It seemed to us that Lent should be about bringing something new and deep into one’s life as much as it is about omitting something frivolous or indulgent. Nature abhors a vacuum, so if you take time to look deeply, something always moves in to replace that which is omitted. If you de-clutter a drawer, you replace chaos with order. As I remove indulgence (and chocolate!), I replace it with meditation and a focus on voluntary simplicity. For me this is a welcome and well-loved practice, not a punishment. Over the years, my friends and I have created a simple Rosary practice which both sustains and connects us, using prayers that are both meaningul and traditional. Our circle grows year by year…. I find myself looking forward to it so much that I almost can’t sleep the night before we start — a clear indication that this slowing down is a something I need on a deep soul level!

Amber Rosary

This year I am using a little amber rosary that Debi Kermeen sent me for my birthday a couple of years ago. It is, I believe, a Russian Orthodox rosary, a bit smaller than the traditional Catholic rosary with its full ten decades. This feels more doable and enjoyable, somehow, and my friend, Carol House, and I spent a bit of time this week preparing the prayers we will use as we pray our way around the beads each day. It is important to me to combine tradition with personal meaning, ongoing spiritual practice with vitality and inclusivity. One aspect that is evolving is a focus on Mary Magdalene; to honour her, Carol wrote an adaptation of the traditional Hail Mary, explaining,

I am doing the Magdalene rosary along with the Mother Mary rosary because it feels good to me. It is time to honor the divine marriage where man and woman are equally divine and find balance and harmony together. To me this is what all the new energy about Jesus and Mary as man and wife is bringing to the mass consciousness. It is part of the manifestation of the divine feminine which has been repressed for the last thousand years. Jesus became a celibate and Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. Two things, one out of reach and the other morally wrong and against the law, for the common person. So we are in very promising times when these suppressed truths are coming to the forefront of mass cosciousness.

Our entire meditation, with the prayers we are using this year, is posted amongst the Threads, on my Meditations page. This is a precious, slowly evolving, practice of connecting both with the Divine and with each other as a circle of friends. We’d love to have you join us, inviting you to weave a practice for yourself that aligns with ours in spirit, but reflects your personal intentions and convictions.

One Reply to “Ash Wednesday”

  1. This is so beautiful… I will join you from here, join this circle of friends, with my intention of focusing with the prayers on the abundance and gratitude in my heart. I love the adaptation of the Mary Magdalene prayer, and its explanation, thank you Carol! And thank you Kimberly for providing this sacred space and invitation…

Comments are closed.