Your Opinion Requested: “Lent” and the Equinox

Today is Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras (and now, in some places, Lundi Gras as well) fall the day before Ash Wednesday and the day before the start of Lent, a 40 period of fasting and piety before Easter.

I have seen a few pagans, Kemetics included, celebrate a period that resembles Lent…but isn’t Lent. I like the idea of sparking spiritual growth with a period of intense study, prayer, and/or offerings in the form of discipline. I’m toying with the idea, for the following reasons.

First and foremost, the vast majority of my family and ancestors were Catholic. There are some Methodists and atheists and other faiths, naturally. But, many Catholics. What’s more, is that Mardi Gras transcends religion where I’m from. Its a tradition we all engage in. Given my last post, I’ve been thinking of my lack of religious traditions but my wealth of cultural traditions. Marid Gras is a bit…loud. But Lent is a time for growth and introspection. It could be a way of connecting me, once again, to those alive and deceased. But is it relevant to me?

The relevance is an important sticking point. I don’t want to celebrate Lent formally, as it is a Christian holiday and, frankly, I am not Christian. It would simply be a parallel to Lent, happening before the Equinox and consisting of a predetermined act which would act as an offering to the Netjeru. There are ways it could be relevant to me personally.

  • For my calendar, the Equinox (near Easter on March 20th) is something I celebrate. I celebrate not just the natural occurrence of the equinox, but I also tie it to the marraige of Wesir and Aset (who I celebrate as the givers of life (Aset through her heka as Weret Hekau and as the Lady of Life; Wesir as Unnefer, he who mannifests beauty, and as the King of the Duat, from whom all life springs). I know this wasn’t a thing celebrated at this time back in the day. But its relevant to me.
  • Also for my calendar, the Equinox falls very close to the start of Shomu, the Ancient Egyptian season of harvest. The celebrations of joy and renewal we see at Easter might be somewhat similar to those at the start of the harvest. While, the renewal might be more appropriate during the flooding season in Ancient Egypt, I don’t have a flood. But, I do have a period where there is more light and warmer temperatures (this winter not withstanding).
  • At the end of February, I do celebrate a day (of my own invention) where Ma’at is honored, and I contemplate what it is and how I can do it. If I moved this to the start of the 40-day period, it might be a good way to kick off the period. The date was arbitrarily chosen anyway.

What I feel the need to justify is the period of “sacrifice”. The length is not an issue. If I remember right, there were 10-day weeks in Ancient Egypt, and 4 was a number of wholeness and completion. No worries there.

Waverly Fitzgerald talks about the season of Lent as one of slight scarcity just before the burst of abundance of springtime. I don’t know that we can say that about Ancient Egypt or my own place on the Earth. Where I live, you can grow and harvest something year-round. In Ancient Egypt, I can’t find any evidence of there being a slight scarcity just before Shomu. They stockpiled very well. If anything, when the heat grew at of the end of Shomu was a more appropriate time to pray and suffer silently.

But, I can see the utility of a discipline-building sacrifice (if it is properly chosen). I can also see it as a means to honor my akhu (though, as I said, some of my family members were areligious or atheists…though still members of the same culture).

This would also mirror the Mysteries of Wesir celebrated around the fall equinox, where the death of Wesir was the pivotal point.

I know for many of you, this will be a tad too Christian or you may not see the point in giving something up.

But, as I’ve laid it out, what are your thoughts?

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Lenctene: Creating My Own Lenten Season | Faith & Belief by Jarred James Breaux

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