by Christine Sine
“The Celts had two homes: the inside of the house and the universe outside. In the winter the family orbited the hearth-fire; in summer the sun was the sacred centre. From May to November their world was bounded by invisible columns that held up the roof of the heavens. God was the divine thatcher who built the house of the world.” Kindling the Celtic Spirit Mara Freeman (201)
We are almost into July, the height of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the depth of winter in the Southern. In the north, we follow the Celts out of doors to learn from the creation which they saw as sacred. Every rock, leaf, and wave of the sea is alive with the presence of God and summer is certainly the time to relish it and learn from it. It’s time for awe and wonder walks, forest bathing, pilgrimage and the delight of basking in the sun and the fragrant beauty of gardens. In the South it is time to snuggle up and get cosy by a fire. Time to light candles and tell stories. Time to laugh and sing with friends and welcome the presence of God into the sacred spaces of our homes with reverence and awe.
This kind of seasonality has great appeal for me. Allowing our lives to flow to the rhythm of the world around us rather than trying to control it or ignore it, is good for our bodies and our souls and our spirits.
This kind of living takes courage, the kind of courage that Brené Brown in her important book The Gifts of Imperfection says is one of the qualities that wholehearted people have in common. As I said in yesterday’s Meditation Monday: Courage to Be Wholehearted, it really does take courage to make these kinds of changes in our lives. I think Lilly Lewin expressed this kind of courage in her The Gift of Wonder Revisited, which we reposted for International Fairy Day on Saturday. As she says “our world needs to know, needs to experience wonder again in order to experience the shalom of God.” She also expressed it in Freerange Friday: Intentional Summer where she asks “What if we all just need to stop and take a breath? Having a Summer that heals will take being intentional.” And I would add, it takes courage.
Early Christians intentionally aligned their celebrations with the seasons of the year. That is why, as Jan Blencowe reminds us in her post Increase and Decrease: St John and the Summer Solstice, St John the Baptist’s Day coincides with the summer solstice. His famous words suggesting that he must decrease so that Christ can increase mirror perfectly what is happening in the cosmos.
For some, especially those in the South where the days feel short and confining, this is a time to find or create sacred space in our homes as Jenny Gehman talks about in Closet Christian.
Wherever you are. Whatever season you are focusing on, take time to refresh and renew your soul.
If you sit long enough,
In a quiet place,
The peace of God will invade your being.
Allow the presence of the Holy One
To fill you.
Open the doors of your heart.
Dissolve the barriers in your head.
Destroy the bars that imprison your soul.
Welcome God into the the sacred centre,
Of your soul.
(C) Christine Sine 2023.
Celtic Prayer Cards include 10 prayers inspired by ancient Celtic saints like Patrick or contemporary Celtic writers like John O’Donohue. A short reflection on the back of each card will introduce you to the Celtic Christian tradition, along with prayers by Christine Sine and beautiful imagery crafted by Hilary Horn. Celtic Prayer Cards can be used year-round or incorporated into various holidays. Available in a single set of 10 cards, three sets, or to download.