Epiphany-The Day of Spiritual Revelations

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany. I went to a Catholic school that was named in honor of this feast day. As a child, my impressions of the spiritual world were completely colored by the teachings of the Catholic faith. I must admit, there is a soft part of my heart that honors the ritual and pomp of organized religion. I adored going to church and continued to go alone after the rest of my family abandoned the Sunday morning ritual. I would walk to church alone, I would sit alone and I would pray so hard my face surely looked pinched from my concentration. I was a believer.

As I grew, my heart and mind began to explore other ways to obtain a relationship with God. I never doubted there is a God. My proof is in the beauty of the Passion Flower. That was my ah-ha moment. I must have been nine or ten years old, I saw a blooming Passion Flower on the vine behind our house. All I could think was, "Only God could design something this amazing." From that day on, I have been a believer, in many things.

I spent my twenties immersed in Hindu culture and lived in India with my daughter when she was just a year old. In many ways the Hindu culture is based on the same type of devotion and service to God as Catholicism. It was not a stretch for me. As the years wore on I was introduced to Anthroposophy. In many ways, Anthroposophy has made me search more deeply for what is true in me, what eternity for the soul really means and what our duty entails as a human being walking on this planet with other living beings.

My life has been enhanced through a deeper connection to these time honored festivals. Before many of these festivals were adopted by Christianity, human beings marked time and the passing of the earth based on these festivals, Michaelmas, Martinmas, Candelmas, May Day, Epiphany, the Solstices and the Equinoxes. These markers help us move through the year and allow us a time to reflect on the nature of humanity as we live on this planet. Recently, human beings have moved indoors, with the luxuries of electric lighting, heating and air conditioning, our lives do not necessarily have to reflect what is going on outside. This does not mean that these natural shifts do not occur. But are we aware of them?

We cannot argue that in the winter the days are shorter, the nights are longer. We cannot argue that in the height of summer we are able to reach toward the sky with outstretched arms. We can feast on the juicy fruits of summer, berry and peach nectar dripping down our chin. In the autumn it is natural for us bundle beneath our scarves, and crunch the leaves beneath our feet. The garden begins to bend back toward the earth, but what do our souls require in these transformative times? How do we mark these movements internally?

So this season, I embraced the darkness with bringing the light of candles into our home. We kept the house toasty warm and pushed our hands deep in our pockets as we walked in the velvety night. As the New Year approached I began a deep cleaning and clearing of our home. Yesterday, the last of the Twelve Holy Nights, the Eve of the Epiphany, I burned Arabian Frankincense and Amber. I smudged the corners of our home with sage and vocalized our intentions for the New Year. I kept all of the windows closed and gave the house a good smoke out. After the ritual, I flung all the doors and windows wide open, casting away the dust of the last year and welcoming the all the New Year has to offer!

I feel ready to make my first steps into the New Year. How about you?