The Fall Equinox was earlier this week -- Tuesday, to be exact. I guess that means we can now officially say summer is over. Although summer is easily my least favorite season of the entire year, I've been doing my best not to say I hate it anymore. I'm working on being more appreciative of everything God made and put in motion. That includes times of year I've never been so keen on. I have to admit that summer does have a beauty all its own and I did enjoy my summer this year. Don't get me wrong though. I'm still really glad it's fall now.
I don't know that I ever mentioned it here, but at the end of last year, I wound up deciding that a liturgical calendar would be really helpful, so I bought one and it hangs on the wall next to our bed. I was really interested in continuing to incorporate the liturgical seasons and feast days into our celebrations throughout the year and it has been really helpful, especially since its clued me into the existence of events I never would have known about otherwise. Over the past nine months or so, I've really fallen into the calendar's rhythm. We've been paying attention to not only the seasons, but also recommended days for fasting, abstinence (from meat), and prayer. For instance, Fridays are now days when we eat only fish or vegetarian options.
Right now, Seth and I are celebrating our first set of Ember Days. Ember Days are four separate sets of days sprinkled equidistantly throughout the year. Traditionally, they are days set aside for focus on prayer and fasting. Abstinence is also suggested for those that celebrate and we are doing all of the above. Today is September's Ember Friday and I have a delicious salmon dinner planned for us.
I have to say that I kind of love that Ember Days appear to occur on or near the equinoxes and solstices, the natural separation points between the seasons that I've consistently acknowledged in my own way for years. Because of this placement, they feel very whole to me -- enriching ways to take something that was already important to me and bring God back into it where He belongs. Prayer and private meditation have become enjoyable and much anticipated parts of all celebrations for me at this point. I'm thrilled that I now have yet another way to acknowledge the turning of the Wheel of the Year with prayer.
It's always felt right and natural to me that we as humans tune into and acknowledge the energies and movements of the earth and the stars. It's why generalized paganism had such a strong draw for me and made so much sense for such a long time. It's also why I take astrology so much more seriously than so many modern people do. I really do believe God put all that there for our use and benefit. God made the heavens and the earth, so therefore anything those systems can tell you is also of God.
It's no secret that many Christians don't feel these concepts go together... but someone like me wonders how they can possibly not see that go together perfectly. My spiritual instincts have always been super strong and it's hard to describe the "rightness" I'm feeling about my spiritual life right now. Suffice it to say that it's been incredibly enriching and something of a relief as well -- like recovering something precious that you lost a long time ago.