Ash Wednesday is a day of reckoning and atonement. Time for purification in preparation for the coming season of growth. We dip our souls in the cleansing fire of spring renewal and rise phoenix-like from the ashes.
Daubing ash on the forehead is a reminder of our earthiness, our deep connection to this planet we inhabit — we come from dust, to dust we will return. And it is a reminder that, though we are but ephemeral bodies, we have the strength of the flame-forged spirits. We’ve come through winter and renewed ourselves once again.
The days are lengthening and the sun is strengthening. What do you wish to grow? And what needs to be done to prepare the soil? It is time to burn away the weedy and reedy chaff. It is time to repair and make reparations. It is time to bare our flesh, feel the cool fertile earth beneath our feet, feel the warm invigorating sun on our shoulders, feel the springing and singing just under our skin.
We are earth bodies and we are fire. Salt and flame — we are enduring, fervent, more brilliant than stars. What we wish, we will create. The darkness of winter is passing. We turn our backs upon it. We turn to the light. We turn together, as one, with eyes of flame and will of adamant.
What is behind us withers, returning to dust. We will use these ashes to fructify our new world.
This is a spring like no other we’ve experienced. We have lost loved ones to disease. We have witnessed madness and chaos and gross violence against all we hold dear. We have endured storm and fire and flood and grinding cold in our bones. We have suffered and screamed. We have been turned to stone and we have been clarified as the grip of fear melts away.
What do we wish to grow in this season of sowing the seeds of our collective future? Think on this, my friends. This is the deep breath of renewal. We return to the work soon. What work will you be doing? What will we grow? What phoenix will we send soaring into the future? Paint your brow with ash and set yourself to the task. Because it is time.
©Elizabeth Anker 2021
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