A Book Journey-Chapter 4: Epiphany
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 filled with the light. It is time to shine!
I began reading this chapter and found a bit of a surprise. I was unaware that Epiphany was originally a commemoration of the baptism of Jesus, and then, later on, became a commemoration of the coming of the Three Magi. However, Druitt points out that both events hold common ground and point to “shining out upon”.
As always, nature provides us pictorial help as we reach for the feeling behind each festival. In the case of Epiphany, Druitt points us to the colors found in nature at this time of year. He not only invites us to observe, but interact. He delves into the idea of a mutually interactive relationship that is there to be cultivated between us and nature. He says, “why should nature in the sense world not react and respond as another person does when ‘shone upon’?”.
I am enjoying this theme of a growing relationship with Earth, this living being that perhaps we have been only dimly aware of as a true, dynamic being. She provides for us at every turn, but in some aspects, I think I have been only aware of her as a static entity, non-responsive to my individual entreaties. Is it possible that a relationship is available? Could I begin cultivating a relationship for the betterment of myself and Earth? These are questions I have begun considering as I work my way through this book.
I really resonated with one of the ideas Druitt presented in the chapter in regard to Christmas being an opportunity to take in the light of Christ and Epiphany marking the opportunity to give this light back to the world. He says, “We scrutinize ourselves for the child within who can be called up into the kingly task which is out there for us in the world but which we have not yet discovered or attempted”.
Druitt gives us a list of meditative pictures to contemplate during this festival. I especially like that he brought in a picture from a religion outside of Christianity, truly showing how this festival can be applicable to persons outside of Christianity. He does this by pulling in another Epiphany, the Epiphany of Arjuna’s vision of Krishna in the Bhagavadgita. I think I will go back and read this portion to see if I can connect with Epiphany and while also extending my spiritual world view.
Druitt talks about windows opened through prayer during this festival. I felt inclined to highlight the sentence saying, “The inner gifts of which we are aware in ourselves may very well not match the areas of the world to which we feel called to help.” He follows up this question by pointing out that by entering into this thought through prayer, perhaps we can use our prayers as vehicles to let our contemplations rise to heaven, find order and even be offered as a further incense. I found it comforting to realize I do not have to have the answers to my spiritual questions and contemplations, simply the desire to let a divine power take hold of them with me. This is enough.
Druitt guides us in creating our own Epiphany festival. I loved the idea of letting the thirty years between Jesus’s birth and baptism live in an abbreviated way during the Holy Nights. Druitt says, “If the soul is quiet during these days, to feel that the spiritual world is open, it is ready when heaven closes at the end to open itself to the world”. I resonated with this idea of an in-between time, a time to be quiet and contemplate. Moving out into the world with purpose after this time of spiritual contemplation seems powerful and meaningful.
Druitt highlights a useful practice on p. 37 that I have been playing with this last week. He encourages us to put aside any doubts we have about positive attributes others have attributed to us and begin focusing on strengthening them in the year to come. He also says it can be useful to cultivate a trait we admire in someone else during the coming year. He says it may even be a powerful practice to find a symbol for each of these traits, using them as daily reminders of our intentions during the year to come. I am finding this idea simple and useful.
The author points us to two dates and the closing point of our Epiphany festival: February 1, St. Brigit’s Day and February 2, Candlemas. He says we can use the practice of dipping candles as a symbol for bringing light in an outwardly visible way to the world around us. I have always enjoyed dipping candles with my children for Candlemas. I will find it even more meaningful by tying it to my spiritual practice during Epiphany.
Druitt closes by saying that we can stimulate all aspects of our life by letting the spiritual rebirth we experienced at Christmas allow light to shine out into the world during Epiphany.
We have barely stepped into the current year and I have already felt as though there is an encroaching darkness. When this feels overwhelming, I remember how one small candle can transform the darkest room and become determined to shine on. May you shine with me. Together, I know we can transform the world.