Queen Elizabeth II described 1992 as ‘annus horribilis’ and in doing so, gave the world a collective term to gather up a tough year, rather than a series of single incidents. She has continued steadfastly in a role she cannot escape.
While it is a tragedy to have your house burnt down (for Elizabeth it was a castle), there was lots more to come for Elizabeth, deaths in the family, children going astray, public humiliation … the usual costs of living. When we take the time to collect up our thoughts, and give the time or place a name, we name moment and in doing so create a still. An invisible marker arrests us. Maybe it is an anniversary, a birthday, an occasion – whatever the marker – it hold us and ties us to the time and place. Being held there we can wallow, re-member, transform and with wisdom and grace, transcend and integrate.
Easter is one of those times. From re-enactments of passover in the family home, to gathering for ecumenical last suppers around cafe tables to finding a church with the barest of remnants of the faithful, that invisible marker holds me still and connects me to the past, present and future. This rich season of ritual percolates through the most secular of cultures and even the hardest hearts taste something of the season as the moon determines what comes next.
In 325CE the Council of Nicaea declared Easter to be held on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox (March 21). What always come next is the waning, moving from full moon to new moon, the eternal celestial revolution. For the ancients this is a time for spells that banish, release, reverse. This is a time to break bad habits or bad addictions, to end bad relationships. This is a time of deep intuition and a time for divination. The days (and nights) Easter brings invites us to renewal. To set aside what is not working and look ahead to what you are being invited into. To take up a fresh start and set aside the horrible, unpleasant and nasty. Being offered a hand to embrace the new when all the while you want to hold on to that place-marker that invites you to stay delusional and frozen in time. Knowing when to move on and to be transformed may well take more than the biblical three days the Easter season advises, it may take a year, it may take longer.
Learning the lessons from the moment being held onto so they can travel with you through all the moons to come, requires practice for integration. Leaving behind what needs to be left behind, taking within what can be absorbed and adapting to the new. Like the moon, forever turning and tidally locked to our planet, we too might be locked into values and beliefs that help keep us steady in the wobbly moments (and years) when things might go horribly wrong.
To wax and to wane
To drift and to drive
To live in the pain
And be fully alive.
(c) Moira Deslandes, Easter Blessing 2016