Spirituality can certainly be an important part of self-help and healing. However, not everyone will agree on what that means.
I have talked at length about my own beliefs, which have evolved over the years.
A short history:
At fifteen, I was baptized into the very fundamental Church of Christ. I went all by myself because I knew I needed saving. I don’t say that in jest. I came home from church camp that summer and told my family they were all going to hell unless they too were baptized. It didn’t go over well.
I guess I should go back a little further.
As a young child, I was not dragged to church, and for that I am grateful. I did go sometimes and carried a small cardboard “church” filled with pennies I’d collected during the week to present to Jesus. It was Lutheran and the minister lived down the street, that’s all I remember.
I did drag my own children (whenever the church doors opened!) who have their own stories to tell. Some of their stores are sweet, some bitter, and others positively horrific. Abusive. I don’t say that lightly.
Their father and I wanted a spiritual foundation for our family. The problem was, neither of us had the self-esteem to forge our own path. Instead, we found strong, male, fundamentalist leaders to hitch our wagon to. They loved us, prayed for us, baptized us… and our children. In not just one church, but two, then three…
After the last (Independent, Fundamental) Baptist church debacle (I could write a book! Won’t even go there!) my oldest daughter and I went out on our own (she was eighteen by then) and joined an Episcopalian Church with a female priest, the beloved Father Liz. Um, beloved only by us, as my younger daughter and son never wanted to step foot in a church again, and their dad refused to allow a woman to lead him. It’s a long story, as all of mine are.
It didn’t last either. Going to that church, I mean. Don’t get me wrong… I loved God… and still ached for a community of believers. But times had changed. The divorce happened. I met my current husband and as you know, moved to Canada. My daughter continued to go for another year or so but dropped off. Neither of us has any bad memories of Liz or the church. It was a haven for us.
In Canada, my husband and I have gone to church a handful of times, always at my behest. We tried a few but nothing reached in and grabbed us. Plus, let’s get real… neither of us likes getting up at the buttcrack of dawn on a Sunday. But I digress.
It became clear to me that my personal relationship with God was just that. Personal. If I wanted to go to church, I would probably go alone. And honestly, I just didn’t care enough. That did not mean I didn’t want a relationship with my God. I love and worship God… that has never changed!
I have done lots of talking and praying, meditating, listening and worshipping… all on my own… and in my own way. It’s mostly a Christian devotion but incorporates other modalities because I believe that God is big enough to hold them all. I also believe that the path is welcoming to anyone who enters.
You don’t agree? That’s fine! All are welcome here!
So, with that preamble, allow me to talk about the seasonal celebrations of The Wheel of the Year, as presented in this lushly illustrated little book, The Zenned Out Guide to Understanding The Wheel of the Year by Cassie Uhl.
What is The Wheel of the Year? In short, it is seasonal celebrations that coincide with the phases of the moon and connect the Self to the Earth and the Divine. If words like Pagan or Wiccan concern you, this may not be the book for you. But if you, like me, have an open mind to such things, this is a glorious addition to your self-help bookshelf!
I will not delve deeply because – as always – I want you to read the book yourself. But here’s a little synopsis…
You may recognize the names of at least some of these celebrations:
- Samhain – The Veil is Thin. It’s Time to Connect Within
- Yule – Rest in the Darkness
- Imbolc – Welcome Light & Hope
- Ostara – The Earth is Fertile
- Beltane – Let Your Passions Lead the Way
- Litha – Bask in the Warmth & Power of the Sun
- Lughnesadh – Harvest the Fruits of Your Labor and Bask in Your Growth
- Mabon – Find Gratitude in the Balance of Light and Darkness
I resonate with one aspect of this practice more than anything else. I have long believed that God lives in EVERYTHING… but Nature, most of all. God is in a blade of grass, the belly of a whale, a drop of the ocean, the birds in the sky… and… um… ME.
I love this kind of stuff!
The illustrations are frequent and super helpful on many levels. I’m a visual person and think they’re just wonderful. See what I mean?
There are certainly times for deep-diving into the psychological realms. Many of the books I’ve already written about have done just that.
Sometimes, it just feels good to hold something beautiful, whimsical, and/or magical in your hands.
This is one of those days. I’m still waiting for my doctor to call with test results and feeling generally crappy. I have no voice and can’t work.
So, 2023: Year of Surrender is keepin’ on with the lessons. I can’t do a darned thing about having to sit here quietly. Waiting.
Ha! Life! Am I right?
You know, it’s funny, not really. I think it’s more like the publisher is the zenned out guide. There are other zenned out guides.
The wheel of the year is an ancient pagan thing ~ I don’t think there’s anything particularly Buddhist about it. Were there aspects of the book which plugged it into zen?