Each year, as the calendar moves gently but inexorably toward the spring, we begin to think of renewal, of the rebirth of the plants that blanket our lawns and gardens, of the rebirth of life on all levels, including our own. I remember being taught that Christianity taught rebirth of the soul through Jesus Christ, and that no other faith taught any sort of rebirth. I still wonder if that pastor knew what he said was a lie, or if it was just ignorance.
The Native American means of renewal or rebirth is the sweat lodge, or inipi, in the Lakota language of the Souix. During that ceremony one enters the womb of the mother (Earth) and via the ceremony and ones sincere prayers experiences a literal rebirth upon exit from the lodge. I have been through this ceremony more than once, and that is not an exaggeration. There are purification ceremonies among the Buddhists, and among nearly every group that aims toward better or higher living among it’s adherents. Through these ceremonies, one “washes away” the past and is born anew, to deal with life from a new perspective. It is very effective, and, at least among the Natives of North America, one can repeat the process later, when it is necessary.
Even in Christianity one can access a renewal when it is needed. This is via the labyrinth, whether you use the Chartre path or another, the prayerful, meditational walk through the steps of a labyrinth can give one new insight into one’s life. Even in the lives of those who do not follow particular ceremonies, but who experience a quintessential spirituality just in the living from one day to another, there is a sense of renewal that automatically comes with the spring.
It is in the release from the snow, which often keeps us indoors unless we are a winter sports person, from the new warmth in the air, from the new flowers that blossom all over the place, everything simply feels new. This sense of renewal can give us new purpose, or revive the purpose we knew before, it doesn’t matter, it’s so refreshing and so wonderful. No faith has a stranglehold on this feeling, or it’s purpose, Mother Nature is the authoress, even for those who do not believe there is such a thing as the Holy Spirit. Amazing! Absolutely amazing!