Showing posts from March, 2023

Eggs and more eggs!

You can't escape eggs at the moment. Whether you're reading about the shortages brought on by this winter's outbreak of avian flu or have hens of your own to worry about, those eggs will be on your mind, and the chocolate ones have been in the shops at least a month already! Eggs feature in spring folk customs right across the northern hemisphere. It is commonly told that our Easter eggs have their origins in German and Norse paganism, but that is to ignore their importance in the Jewish Passover ritual and the presence of painted and gilded eggs as symbols of death and rebirth in many parts of ancient Asia and Africa. As a specifically Christian symbol, the tradition of painting and exchanging eggs appears to have been adopted first by early Christians in Mesopotamia. From there, the custom spread through the Orthodox churches and had become common in the western Church some time before the seventeenth century. The first edition of the Roman Ritual, from 1610 includes pray

Giving it up for Lent

I am one of those people who like to keep Lent. Not just a bit of dieting disguised as piety, but making a serious attempt to address imbalances in my life, my attitude to others and my spiritual relationships. Usually, this involves trying to reign in instincts I have realised I indulge, or pushing harder against my habitual torpor. It might outwardly look like "giving something up," but it has a higher purpose and deeper meaning for me. This year, having become concerned about my relationship to alcohol, I have decided to lay off drinking for the six weeks of Lent. As well as giving my liver time to rest and renew, it will - I hope - allow me to develop a more disciplined approach to my use of alcohol and find strategies to support that discipline. A few weeks ago, I was introduced to Janet Hadley, a sober coach. The purpose of our meeting was professional - she was due to come on my radio show and we were meeting for an introductory chat. During the conversation, I became