A Sabbath Table: Feastdays of St Peter and Lammas

Though sadly ignored the past fourtysome years, today is the day of St Peter in chains, as well as Lammas. Its when we celebrate that St Peter was so often freed from his chains by God in the literal sense (not to mention the spiritual sense), and also when the grain harvest is traditionally celebrated and given thanks for. Both such fine traditons, and so deeply connected. We give thanks for our providence and for our protection.

One neat tradition here is something called a "need-fire". On Lammas (as well as in times of deep need) traditionally a special fire was lit. All other flame fires within a certain radius had ro be put out first, as well as, in more modern times, the electricity had to be shut off in a certain radius as well...in other words, no fire. Then when the need-fire was lit in this space of quiet and longing, it was considered deeply healing. The occult view would be this was "spellwork", which is nonsense. The true magic here i believe can be explained for example by a simple children's tale, a favorite of mine. Its a traditional Russian tale called "No Room" (Rose Dobbs has a nice retelling) , and i happened to come across it on a blog today of all days. From Lentils and Rice:

"I read a story once, a children's book, but I can't remember the name, about a man not happy with his life. His family was too noisy, the house was too small. He asked a wise man what to do, and the wise man told him to bring the dog and cat into the house, the next day he told him to bring another animal into the house. Each day, the man would go back, tell the wise man it wasn't working, and the wise man would tell him to bring something else into his house: the cow, the donkey, the chickens, the pigs, the in-laws, and so on. Soon, his house was full of chaos, noise, and mess, and was even more crowded than before.

The man went back one last time, and pleaded with the wise man for a solution, telling him his suggestions only made life more stressful and noisy. The wise man told him, at last, to remove all the animals and extra people from the house, and the man did so. He was so happy with his quiet, calm house, even though a few days before he was complaining about the very same situation.

It's very easy to not appreciate what you have, until you lose it, or until something changes.

The past few weeks have been filled with invitations, annual doctor and dentist appointments, and floods of new opportunities, and that made our normally simple life stressful. I never realized how happy I was with our quiet life, until we were suddenly flooded with activities.

I am content with our quiet, simple life, and Oh, what a happy feeling that is. :-)"

This to me is the spirit of the need-fire..... learning to see the true treasure we have. Picture if you will a Shabbat kept like this. As Shabbat approaches, no fires are left lit, and the infernal humm of the electricity is off too. "The whole texture of industrial life — to which we gave birth — is against that of the Christian life " i've heared said, and i believe it. Flipping that switch off is a powerful return....and an opening up to what is really important instead.

So then it happens, the Shabbas candles are kindled. And we can feel it...the true light is the light of God, and it is precious beyond words. How easy it is to forget that in the midst of the industrial and electrical humming. How healing to, to say the least, to remember. Even chain freeing one might say : )

Oddly enough, this all has me thinking more on this "no products" thing today too. I know it may sound weird, but its a longing that just wont go away, it just gets stronger each year. Definitely something thats been laid on the heart. And i've been thinking how its the supposed "need" for products that has kept us so industrialzed (translation: physically polluted, emotionally detached, and living based on greed rather than need). Industry, i can say personally, is not my friend really. Yes, it has some real benefits....and it sure better have some benefits to compensate, with all the harm it gives. But im still not at all sure the good outweighs the harm. Physically, i get very ill from it. And even emotionally the harm of it comes up. The "archetype" i am most drawn to is the "angel in the home". And this ancient archetype of Biblical femininity (in the deepest sense based on Proverbs 8 i believe) resurged later in Victorian form as a reaction the harm of the Industrial Revolution. No coincidence. More like a co-in-see-dance (God dancing with us). And i cant help but think of these things today.

And in my day to day life here this stuff is coming to a head really. I am living in the most polluted place i have ever lived in my life, despite it being such a small town with such amazing nature. I am situated right on (and i mean right on) the busy highway that runs through the little town, and am also near a spot where trucks tend to rest and layover with their diesal engines runnning. Not to mention some rather noisy and toxic neighbors that have moved in recently. All day long i am constantly having to open and close windows....open them becuase it gets so hot and stuffy with them closed, and then soon having to close them again becuase fumes come in, and opening them again when the stuffiness gets unbearable. And the noise and fumes out there, they just never seem to stop, even when i sleep. My body is most always on guard and overstimulated, never seems to really rest, even my dreams have been affected. And i just long so much for the "humm" (industrial and otherwise) around us to cease, with the greed behind it....and to return to the true treasure, to the treasure of a quiet life lit by God's Own Light.

And i just have to believe we can all do this in little ways, that return. That He will lead us to little openings, little ways of healing, Even here, even now...just little things. Becuase llittle things usually end up not being so little after all.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon;

Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them;

Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished.

And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.

Jeremiah 29:4-7

Openings for peacefulness He leaves for us... even in exile. Need-fires, chain breaking....

Blessed Feastday of St Peter and Lammas all, and a Very Blessed Shabbat and Sabbath : )

(Image from here; the chains in the background are those believed to have been worn by St Peter)

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