Days of April

March 10, 2008

The month of April contains days of historical significance throughout the world. After surviving another harsh winter, the Vernal Equinox promises relief, and April brings with it a time for preparing for the upcoming planting. Along with notoriety for spring showers, April marks several lesser renowned, but important days in history and our contemporary world.

April 1 - April Fool’s Day
Nearly every one of us either played a prank on a friend or suffered as the unwitting victim of your gullibility at the hands of a master prankster. Falling on the first day of the month and said to expire by noon, the day is ripe for the harvesting of well thought-out trickery, all in good fun. Numerous versions of the origins of the day giggle up through history, yet the end result remains the same. On the first of April watch out for playful misdirection and maintain your sense of humor.

If we look at the Fool’s Day through our spiritual eyes, we see that making honest mistakes due to our misinterpretation of life shown to us, teaches us through lessons of sweet irony. When we give more credence to the confident claims of others and fall prey to their aura of authority, we suffer False Evidence Appearing Real (FEAR). The false thoughts about self (doubt, inferiority, unworthiness) expose our vulnerability and deny us a clear picture of the reality of who we are. Never let anyone define you! All the fooling around in the world renders itself meaningless when the strength of your spirit laughs in the face of the day.

April 19 - Shot Heard around the world
The night of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere mounted his horse for his famous ride. His mission assigned him to warn the patriots of the direction of the approach of the British troops. The famous, "One if by land, two if by sea," slogan referred to Revere’s silent signal by placing lanterns in the steeple of the Old North Church in the heart of Boston. His efforts proved not only vigilant, but successful, and the following dawn, the opposing forces met face to face on Lexington Green. The "shot heard around the world," unordered by either side’s officers, began the American Revolution. Revere issued the warning, his compatriots responded and fought a battle. The victory on the battlefield that day gave birth to a new country through a power Declaration of Independence a year later.

Life issues us warnings, too, and we either choose to ignore them or take action. Neither choice guarantees freedom from struggle, or immediate results, yet they lead us to different outcomes. The importance of not only the warning signs from life, but the action required on our part to conquer any force which conflicts with our greater good, clearly resounds our mettle with the musket of our spiritual strength. Declare your separation from negative thought and take note as soon as you notice the beacons of danger in your sight. You require not an army to help you overpower the treacheries life presents, you need only your determined spirit and the willingness to seek a greater life for yourself – against all odds.

April 23 - St. George
The feast of St. George carries with it mixed origins much like April Fool’s Day. Some say George died for daring to question the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s campaign to persecute Christians. Diocletian responded by torturing and killing George for refusing to denounce his faith. Other legends present George as a hero who slayed the dragon living in a nearby swamp. The King’s daughter Cleodolinda, purported to be the dragon’s next sacrificial offering, escaped death when George mesmerized the dragon with his lance, and stabbed him with his magic sword Ascalon, The dragon, now docile and suppliant, followed George and the Princess to the market square where George killed him. As you may expect, this version of the legend contends that George and Cleodolinda married and lived happily every after.

We learn from George that external forces threaten not only ourselves but our community. We see that cultural and societal difficulties, allowed to fester and metastasize into greater threats, harm all of us and each of us unless someone brave enough to come forward forces us to face the nemesis. Negative energies bombard our daily lives through the “bad-news” of the media and our propensity to wallow in misery and complain of our plight. It takes a stalwart soul to muster up the courage to visualize possibilities of a better life – a life without the dragons of fear, manipulation and demands. While not every one of us wields the magic sword of St. George, we each bear our own armature of perspective and possibility when presented with a challenge. When we reinforce one another’s message of positive choices, we slay the dragons of societal negativity. And, with any luck, we, too, will live happily ever after.

April 30 - Walpurgisnacht
A little known martyr and saint, Walpurga, the daughter of the Saxon Prince Richard, lived her life as a nun in the convent of Heidenheim, Germany. She died in 779 AD. Her feast day falls on the same day as pagan rituals in place hundreds of years prior to her death. Ironically, the two celebrations blended together and the ensuing ceremony took on an altogether different meaning. The clearest description of the pagan holiday comes to us from Norse tradition. Walpurgisnacht (the evening before May Day), represents a time when Odin (a God of wisdom, war, battle and death, also magic, poetry, prophecy, victory and the hunt) met his demise. This night symbolized a time of weakness between the living and the dead. The pagans built bonfires to keep away dead, destructive spirits that they believed walked among the living. While Odin’s chronicle had nothing to do with St. Walpurga, the evening of dispelling the remnants of the dead became known as the night of Walpurga, or Walpurgisnacht.

We look at reasons for our behavior in the present day, and we see that our confusion often results in disconnected intentions. We associate the outcomes in our lives with false, misconstrued or faulty information of which we lose track. Soon, our ritualistic behaviors and idiosyncrasies take on a life of their own, far removed from the original reasons or motives for the behavior itself. When we give more power to the ritual, such as the warding off of evil spirits on Walpurgisnacht, we lose track of the beautiful woman whose life we celebrate. The same holds true in our own lives. We pay more and more attention to the trappings in our little corner of the world, than our life itself and our spirit gets lost in the confusion and jumble of fighting against our power instead of celebrating with it.

As April showers down on you, remember to keep your wits about you and your humor close at hand. In life, a moment can change the world, and if you take care to notice how life approaches you, spirit will tell you when to take action. Bravery towards your innermost fears or external forces, provides brilliant opportunities for strengthening your sense of self and knowing you live happily ever after. And if you’re lucky, every day of your life will be a merger of celebrations and it won’t matter the origins – you are reason enough.

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