A Happy Fat Tuesday to Everyone! (Or as we call it in this part of Michigan, Paczki Day.) This is the last day of Mardi Gras in New Orleans (and everywhere else, of course). Mention Mardi Gras, and most Americans think of a big boozefest, but I think it has magical potential, related to the feng shui effect which I have previously discussed in reference to Halloween and masquerading traditions. So, for example, I mentioned how a person in need of healing can engage The Principle of the Fantastic as well as the energy of the crowd, (“the swarm”), by dressing up in some outlandish get-up and parading. This form of shape-shift and the moving stream of chi both revitalize the energy body. (I apologize that I have not gotten around to tagging my older posts, but you can find some of this discussion in February of 2009 and October of 2008.)
To align yourself with the psychic energy stream that Mardi Gras generates—even if you aren’t a Catholic—it would be good to follow it with some form of fasting or abstinence, where you give up certain indulgences for a few weeks. The problem with Mardi Gras in America is that we don’t engage in fasting afterward, and without the lows, you can’t appreciate the highs, so they become meaningless bouts of overindulgence.
If you’re familiar with the movie, “The Sound of Music,” you know who Maria von Trapp is—and she was a real person who wrote a great book: “Around the Year with the Trapp Family.” In my old notes, I have some of her comments on the need for Lent, and I just did a search to verify that you can find some of this online, with keywords like “Maria Trapp ‘lean weeks of Lent.’” To paste in a few quotes from Maria Trapp:
“Nobody could stand a Thanksgiving Day dinner every day of the year. There can only be mountains if there are also valleys. It is a pity that the Reformation did away not only with most of the sacraments and all of the sacramentals, but also, unfortunately, with the very breath of the Mystical Body — that wonderful, eternal rhythm of high and low tide that makes up the year of the Church … Modern man lost track of this. Deep down in the human heart, however, is imbedded the craving to celebrate, and, in a dumb way, the other craving to abstain, perhaps to atone. In general, these cravings are no longer directed in seasonal channels, ... So modern man one day — any day — gets up and says, ‘Let's celebrate!’ And without any warrant, he decrees that his town from now on will have a festival on, let's say, August 18th; and as he can dance and eat and drink on any day between January 1st and December 31st, the most he will experience is a ‘good time.’ But he will never be able to "celebrate a feast.’”
Turning to other seasonal events, we have just entered the Chinese New Year of the Tiger, so, Happy New Year! The official start date was this past Sunday, which was also Valentine’s Day, so the celebrational energy has been very high, with so many festivities falling so close to each other.