The night I felt like praying was the night before Easter Sunday 2017. We are in North Wales, Snowdonia.
I am feeling out of sorts with flare ups of anger and that moaning voice talking harshly to me and all those around me. It feels unpleasant and I find myself unable to control it coming out. This is not unfamiliar to me and I often feel at a loss when this happens. I have experienced this voice over and over again for many years and it comes as quickly as it leaves. I am yet to work through whether this is something within me that continues to manifest as unhealed or is this a past-life memory, vibration or personality trait mine or someone else’s. I might say it feels like a possession of some sort when something from within is desperate to be heard and the voice of pain, bitter disappointment and cruel criticism would not be silent. It feels slightly ‘out of body’ when I can hear and see myself yet I am unable to have any say over what happens or gets said. Post-episode I always feel deep sadness and yesterday I also felt incredible guilt. What happened and what was expressed felt wrong and hurtful and I knew it wasn’t my intention. I felt shame, wanting to atone, a deep sense of feeling sorry for those around me. It was a real genuine sense of wanting to say ‘I am sorry’. It had a mixture of love in it, deep love and compassion. I saw myself going on my knees at the edge of my bed wanting to pray, ask for forgiveness and release and the idea of God was very present. As a pagan this puzzled me but I remained opened to whatever was coming up. Pagan, of course, pray too in various ways, but this felt different to me. It was God I wanted. Something strong and new was being born in order to aid me with my troubles. I realised something within was uncontainable and I needed to be contained, held and understood. I felt confused and alone. I suggested to my husband I went to church the following day and I felt even more confused as if another part of me, the lost, loving one was seeking resolution and release of the pain caused by a cruel, angry side. I fell into mini-despair about it all and almost froze into a sleep, which was restless and broken.
The morning didn’t seem to bring much relief yet I felt stronger and more intent on understanding what was happening. It also felt joyful and light somewhat and I delighted in beautiful pictures that my parents sent me of Easter eggs and their celebratory table full of traditional food of the season. It felt warm, contained, simple and knowing. It felt like another ‘home’, my mother. The theme of Home was coming through in the mix of it all. I realised that even though I grew up in a non-religious family one holiday that was always celebrated in a traditional way was Easter. I glanced back into my past and remembered gatherings around a table full of pies and baked deliciousness with colourful eggs (real ones) prepared by my mother with the whole family partaking in a celebration I never really understood. No one ever explained its meaning or told me things I needed to do, I simply followed what others did like knocking eggs together to see whose would break first. It was like a game. We did that with each member of the family and ate a lot of eggs that day, we all loved eggs. I always felt there was something quite complete and versatile about eggs.
We decided to go to the forest for some fresh air. Magnificent old pines looked inviting bowing in their knowledge and welcome as I stepped on the path. It felt homely, fresh yet wild and still uncontained. I realised how nature can overwhelm me often and I don’t always feel safe in the space in a way I need necessarily. The idea of a church hadn’t left me still this morning. After spending a few hours wondering through the beautiful forest breathing in fresh spring air we ended up in a village and sat outside next to a church. I was drawn to it instantly and realised this Easter Sunday I must go in, I am being called into a church of a different making to stand at the altar, which is not a forest floor or the altar in my home. I went through the old door decorated in spring flowers and it hit me. I began vibrating all over with shivering sensations spreading throughout my body. I was all alone in this beautiful old church facing the altar. God is Risen! I smiled as this felt like my spirit or the spirit that I know well recognised the spirit present in this place. I knew it is one spirit, it is all the same thing, something spiritual that we all possess and know deep down and that alignment felt instantly soothing and the church felt welcoming. Another feeling I did receive was of that containment. I truly know and understand the meaning of a church being a refuge for so many, it is such a container of people’s troubles, prayers and joys. I get it. I felt contained and held, something I needed more than anything since last night. I lit a candle in honour of everyone that had passed and asked for health and happiness for all my loved ones. I walked away from it lighter, much lighter.
Altar, container, church are all various forms of sitting with the Divine whether it is one God, Goddess, Nature, Spirit or the Source, whatever it might be it is all off the same root, off the same home and it doesn’t have to have a name, face, physical form or a particular way of being. It is a feeling, an emotion, an experience. It is recognisable when it is present in the atmosphere around whether it is in a forest or in an old village church. Spirit is present everywhere and more potent in places of worship, energy is simply more concentrated, as many desires, wishes and prayers are shared in these places and potent rituals had been performed there for centuries. Places hold that vibration. It occurred to me that whatever is being called force in any given moment, following it with curiosity and an open heart can lead to discoveries not so new, perhaps, yet surprising may be. I felt in union with all and asked for peace within myself and religions around the world whether you are pagan, Christian, Muslin or Hindu. That Spirit that unites all spiritual paths has the same message of love, the same feeling of peace and sacredness whatever religious variations in how worshipping is done. It can be in a church, in a corner of your bedroom, in the sea, on the forest floor or on top of the mountain. It is all about working with energies unseen, but deeply felt and allowing it to touch us in ways that are healing and soothing. It is about asking for guidance and seeking answers when we are at a loss and knowing we are not alone. We all come from spirit and to spirit we will return just like seasons come and go, the wheel of the year keeps on turning we continue on our journey through cycles of life and today is the day of renewal, light coming back and celebrating spring.
I remain curious to exploring my connection to Easter, some Christian elements and what it all means for my spiritual path. I remain open and allowing. It is valid and important to give it space and consideration and allow experiences touch me. This year, as I go through the cycles in nature I am even more intent to explore what each season, cycle, festival mean to me and I am already beginning to see some elements, that will be included in my future, which hadn’t been considered before. I am creating my own version of the wheel of the year, if you like, and it feels exciting and very personal. I am also grateful for these spiritual experiences and new insights that happen when I am travelling away from home in lands steeped in history and stunning landscape. I love how the Land never fails to facilitate my growth.
Will I be praying again and asking for forgiveness and restoration of peace within? I am pretty sure I will. This experience felt deeply important on the night before Easter, divine timing, one might say, and the feeling afterwards was even more profound. Who will I be praying to and in what form? Will it be in the forest, my bedroom or the church, who knows, but whatever I am called I will follow. It is a fascinating journey of piecing things together, it seems. Another thing to remember, of course, is that there is a constant change, an evolution that occurs. I found nothing is completely static in a spiritual practice and that is what is wonderful about this personal journey. It is like reading a book, which offers more and more possibilities with a promise of always adding mystery and wonderment to my experience.