Twice this week, on two separate occasions coming from two different individuals, I have been invited to participate in Spring Equinox rituals that will take place this weekend.
Ten years ago that would have been nothing remarkable, as I was a regular participant in Wiccan and Neopagan groups like the House of Oak Spring or the Grove of the Unicorn or the now-defunct local grove of Ár nDraíocht Féin. But since I wandered “out of the woods and into the Catholic Church” in 2005, understandably my number of invitations to Wiccan Circles and Pagan Rituals have been in short supply. So I find it interesting that I would get not one, but two, offers to honor the turning of the wheel this time around.
And the real irony: both invitations come from Christian friends. Not “Christian” in the sense of “that was how I was raised but I don’t really believe it,” but Christian in the “going to church every Sunday and trying to follow Jesus the best I can” sense.
So… why are the Christians who love the turning of the seasons suddenly coming out of the woodwork? I’m not really sure. But it does seem auspicious, in that just this week I’ve begun reading Christine Valter Paintner’s newly-released book Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire: The Christian Practice of Praying With the Elements from Sorin Books, an imprint of Ave Maria Press (about as mainstream a Catholic publisher as you can get) I’ve just begun the book so I can’t say too much right now, but I will post a review once I’ve finished it. What I can say is that it looks quite good: a poetic and prayerful approach to spirituality grounded in the blessings of the natural world, suitable for Christians to incorporate in our overall spiritual practice. Valter Paintner is a Benedictine oblate whose website is called Abbey of the Arts: Transformative Living through Contemplative & Expressive Arts.
Meanwhile, both of the Atlanta-area Christians who requested my presence at Equinox rituals this weekend are contemplatives as well. Am I noticing a groundswell of emerging interest in the convergence between contemplative Christianity and a healthy, positive honoring of the good Earth that has been given to us?
I sure hope so.
Alas, I had to decline both opportunities to participate in the Equinox rituals for the most prosaic of reasons: I work this weekend. But I’m pleased that I was honored with the invitations. To all of you who read this, whether you are Neopagans — or Christians with a deep and abiding interest in honoring the blessings of the Earth — I wish you a joyous day in celebration of the coming of Spring.