As well as celebrating the solstices and equinoxes, our Celtic ancestors celebrated the cross quarter days which are the days that lie half way between and represented times of season change.. These were primarily agricultural festivals, but as they were occasions when the community gathered together they were also times of sacred ritual and social activities.
Jesus spoke a lot about the Kingdom or Realm of God, a term which from the Aramaic could be translated as the Reign of Unity; it is recognised as his main message. It is clear from his teachings that this state of being is already present now, and within us (Luke 17.21), and it is also a future realisation (Your kingdom come Luke 11.2). This realm is where love, peace and justice for all reign. It has often been interpreted by the church as a requisite for good behaviour. But it is the other way around – entering into this God-filled realm changes and enables us. And more than that, it is a place of unity, oneness and wholeness – with God, with each other, with creation. Jesus’ prayer for us in John 17.20-23 is: ‘that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world will believe you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one; I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.’
Light is not only the brightness of day but, for the last 3,000 or so years, a symbol of goodness and of Spirit or God. Similarly darkness is now cast as anything inimical to Spirit and to ourselves. The danger of this is that we lose our natural balance, and our lives don’t honour the importance of the dark.
There is a Rosh Hashanah blessing for the Jewish New Year in September that I like to use with my family and any group I am with. You give each person a slice of apple dipped in honey and say ‘May it be the Lord’s will to renew for you a year that is good and sweet’. I told my eleven year old granddaughter that we would be doing this as a blessing from God. She said ‘male or female?’ Interesting question. I said ‘both or neither’.
I have always believed in life beyond this one, in ‘heaven’. It was a theoretical concept that gave hope but no substance. It became more real as I experienced living in the presence of God here and now, and has been fleshed out by reading or listening to accounts of people who have had near death experiences (NDE’s). I am not in a hurry to go, but I am looking forward to it. I am sharing some of the things that have helped or interested me which I have gleaned from others’ stories. This is just my understanding, and is not a comprehensive review. Do follow these accounts and others up yourselves, I will give references at the end.