Last month a colleague from Interfaith Center at the Presidio invited me to Pantheacon, which is a conference for indigenous religions, paganism, and a diversity of other earth-based spiritualities. While there I attended a presentation by author Christopher Penczak entited "Four Jacks, a Queen, and the Wheel of the Year". He led us through a guided meditation in which we met four "Jacks", each representing a different season of the year, a different season of life:
- Jack of the Green: Spring. Return of the green as the Spring Equinox inaugurates the growing season. Last year's seeds sprout, emerging from their winter slumber.
- Jack of the Corn: Summer. During the summer harvest of corn and wheat, the sun reaches its peak position in the sky, symbolizing our full creative powers.
- Jack of the Lantern (Pumpkin): Fall. Squashes and gourds are sacrificed to provide food through the winter. The hallowed-out pumpkin has surrendered its flesh to sustain life, and its seeds go into the ground.
- Jack Frost: Winter. The earth rests, and the seeds lie dormant in the ground awaiting the return of Jack of the Green.
The Jacks revolve around the Queen, the Lady of the Lake, who turns the wheel of the seasons with ever-flowing water. She represents the eternal midst the changing seasons. The cycle of birth, maturation, sacrifice for future life, and death/burial continues unabated, and yet, the wheel turns around an Eternal Presence that renews and sustains.
How might these four Jacks speak to where you are on your wheel of life?
- Jack of the Green: Pause. Observe. What life-giving newness is just starting to sprout around or within you?
- Jack of the Corn: What is the new level of maturity to which you are being called?
- Jack of the Lantern: What is life calling you to sacrifice so that LIFE may flourish?
- Jack Frost: What type of rest/restoration do you need?
You can also look at these seasons as a mirror for the stages of life. Where are you in the life cycle? Are you in the autumn years yet still clinging to summer or spring?
What enables us to transition through seasons and cycles is a deep trust in the Eternal Presence. Called, experienced and defined in many ways, the Eternal Presence, when trusted, enables us to let go of each season when it has passed and immerse ourselves in the next season with equanimity.
Notice the changing season.
Trust the Center that holds you.
Surrender that which is passing.
Engage with what is emerging.
When we stop our striving against seasons and cycles, life flows with grace.