A Book Journey – Chapter 6: Lent
A monthly book study by Amy McGehee-Lee
Festivals of the Year: A Workbook for Re-enlivening the Christian Festive Cycle
by Roger Druitt
We are entering the springtime of the soul, and yet something holds us back. What is this inertia? What keeps us from all that is vibrant?
Druitt opens this chapter by encouraging us to look at the discrepancy between our ideals and our reality. Paraphrasing the New Testament’s Paul: why do we do what we do, even when we do not want to do it? Druitt seems to imply that these may be the types of queries we might want to ponder during this festival.
Druitt also brings our attention to the fact that Christ died alone; completely abandoned by those closest to him. He invites us to “redress this by reaching out to him in our imagination.” This idea resonates with me. Perhaps by reaching out to Christ, we are also reaching out to all of those abandoned, even ourselves?
As always the author turns to nature to help us find images indicative of the spirit behind the festival for which we are preparing. He points us to the season in which we are living. This is a turning point of the seasons, whether we are in the southern or northern hemisphere. I am in the northern hemisphere. In Texas, spring is certainly here. The branches of flowering trees are bursting forth, bulbs are making their yearly display, and patches of green are apparent throughout the carpet of the woods. My soul is truly awakening, and yet, as Druitt says, there is something that “hinders me in my depths from taking it for myself.” I do feel this inertia he speaks of. Do you, dear reader, ever experience this during this time of year? I know I have felt this before (and probably every year at this time). Having knowledge of a spiritual root for this habitual feeling is a great comfort. I will no longer despair as I ask hard questions of myself or wonder at my inadequacies.
Druitt gives us focus points for our prayers during Lent. He says it is a special opportunity to pray for humanity to make space “for the grace of the Creator’s death and resurrection to take root there, that he find a place there to be a redeemer of our nature and a working partner in our own redemptive efforts.” As I contemplated this prayer, I could not help but think of the miracle that takes place in my garden every spring. Yes, my garden would come alive without me, but becoming a partner with the living miracle of resurrection already present, I am able to even bring it more splendor and vibrancy through my tender care and devotion. Perhaps this is the type of partner Druitt is referring to when he talks about redemptive efforts?
The author returns to the idea of a soul imbalance during this time of year. I truly love his remedy. He says, “by watching the earthly colours of the buds change the colour face of the woodlands and hedges until piecemeal, the green breaks out – this furnishes an inner and more stable warmth through its beauty.” For me, this advice has played perfectly into how I was moved to create our nature table during Candlemas. I placed branches from our peach tree in a jar of water and laid it amongst the crystals and one woolen gnome. Just today, one small flower broke forth. The joy that one blossom brought to my heart was nothing short of miraculous and the waiting that happened before it burst open made it all the sweeter. It has even made me more aware of each slip of green appearing, each bloom and blossom bursting outdoors. Each bright spot feels as though a reminder of infinite miracles waiting to take place in my own life.
Druitt also takes us to the realm of another (remember the gnome in the Candlemas chapter?) elemental being, the Undine. Up until now, I have not been aware of this entity. I am highly intrigued. He says that it is a “being of the water, especially where it is moved by air… The Undine likes to balance the raindrops with the sunlight and the moist gaps in the fluffy rain clouds to provide the material for the spirits of the air to let the rainbow colours play across the sky.” He says we will meet air spirits in a future chapter! Let’s just say I am intrigued enough to go straight to Rudolf Steiner’s lectures for more information on these other-worldly beings. Are any of you familiar with them? Do you know of any humans who have the sight to see or sense to feel them?
We move now to creating our festival. Traditionally, one gives up something for Lent. This has been a custom within the Christian tradition for some time. Druitt refers to this and says the thing given up is specifically to “build up character.” He says this can be a beneficial character practice, but that being successful in this self-denial for a short time is more rewarding than being unsuccessful for a long period. He states that this can help strengthen one’s will power. He says it can also be a good time to change our habits, for instance one’s handwriting or turn of phrase. He also says we may find it beneficial to follow what Christ did during these days leading up to Easter, by reading the Gospel account. Druitt gives a handy table of the days of the week leading up to Easter and their corresponding verses.
Even growing up within the Christian faith, I did not experience the celebration of Lent. This chapter has given me an interesting perspective on this festival and the possible benefits and spiritual gifts of moving through it. I would like to pull some of these ideas into my own spiritual practice. What, in this chapter, resonated with you? Did you grow up celebrating Lent in a traditional Christian setting? How are Druitt’s ideas for the festival the same or different from your own past experience?
Amy is a homeschooling mom of three boys. She is the creator of The Christopherus Homeschool Planner, “Daily Rhythms”