Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Lent, as a Pagan
Posted by Diana Renata
A Pagan practicing Lent? What?
Just blew your mind a little bit, didn't I?
As a Pagan, why can't I observe Lent? Or Ramadan, for that matter? (Which I fully intend to do this year, being that it falls just as I am moving to Tennessee. How serendipitous!
So back to this Lent thing. I'm guessing you're wondering why a Pagan would participate in religious practices of faiths they don't really believe in. For those who are unfamiliar with Lent, a little background...
Lent typically lasts six weeks, leading up to Easter, and the observance is usually begun on Ash Wednesday. It's a period of fasting and prayer, as well as through penance, repentance, alms-giving, and self-denial, (which are practices found in many faiths, just not Christianity and Catholicism.) Certain foods or luxuries are abstained from, for about forty days. How these days are calculated varies among denominations, some counting Sundays, some not. There are numerous ways to observe Lent, and I would say there's no wrong way to do it, so long as the intent of sacrifice is there.
Ok, so it's a lot of fasting and prayer, and being observant and obedient. A Pagan doesn't need to do those things, does she? Or does she?
This one does.
Times are a little tough right now, financially speaking. Sometimes it's hard to have faith that I'm doing the right thing, and sometimes even the signs I see all around me aren't enough. I need all the spiritual bonuses I can get right now. Maybe the gods will see my sacrifice, be pleased, and bestow blessings upon me (more so than they already have, for which I am ever grateful!) That's besides all the practical functions that come with participating in Lent. I'll spend less, and hopefully my waistline will reduce with my expenses. I've been... well let's just say, a bit more than indulgent lately, in many areas of my life.
I got to thinking about all of the things I could possibly give up for forty days.
Sex? Hell no.
Television? Possibly. That's not a huge sacrifice. I barely use it as it is.
I certainly need to give up sweets, and alcohol, and cheat grains for a while. That's a definite yes.
Dairy? Probably should.
Negative attitudes? I have many of those I need to work on. Especially about myself.
So I'm giving up sweets, alcohol, and cheat grains, and maybe dairy. I'm going to stop judging myself so badly for my mistakes. I'm going to try to fast throughout the day, and eat my single meal in the evening, as was done in earlier times. Or at the very least I'll skip breakfast.
There will be permissions, however. Valentine's day (maybe,) St. Patrick's day (just a little) and my birthday. Not that I will go overboard at any of these times, but I will technically be breaking lent by indulging in sweets or alcohol on these days. I don't think the gods will judge me for that.
Besides being a religious observance, at the very least, it's good for us to practice a little bit of self discipline on occasion. It doesn't even have to be a part of our typical religious practices (or lack there of) in order to be meaningful, but for me I find it adds a certain significance that can help me keep focused and dedicated.
Wish me luck. It's gonna be a long forty days without chocolate and wine. But tonight... Tonight is ice cream for dinner.
They don't call it Fat Tuesday for nothing! "Laissez les bons temps rouler!"