Why not try out a Lent-style ritual this year to align yourself with the current astrological energies? You have nothing to lose and plenty to gain, including better health and peace of mind. You can even structure your ritual to help heal the planet in powerful ways. Not religious? Don’t worry — this is not an article for religious people. The type of ritual I am talking about is one created by you, for you. What do you feel is important to cultivate in your life right now? Or what would you like to do to help heal the planet? That is what we are going for!
The Archetype Connected to Lent
The spirit of Lent was born from the archetype of Pisces, which is much deeper and more ancient than the Christian faith itself. The highest ideals of the Piscean archetype include: compassion, altruism, self-sacrifice, retreat from the material world, reflection, and service to humanity or God(dess). The Piscean archetype is all about the unity of life, and merging with the Oneness of the Universe. Many of these values are also a part of the tradition of Lent.
What Actually is Lent?
In the Christian faith, Lent is the 40-day period that comes before Easter. In 2019, Lent begins on March 6th and lasts until April 18th. Traditionally, it is a season of reflection that commemorates Christ’s retreat into the desert for 40 days. During Lent, Christians traditionally fasted periodically or abstained from eating specific foods on certain days (eg. no meat on Fridays). Sacrifice characterizes the spirit of Lent rituals — giving something up during Lent is thought to increase one’s understanding of God; through self-denial, the Christian allies with Christ’s own suffering and sacrifice of dying on the cross.
Wait a Minute! I am Definitely Not Christian. I am Not Even Religious. Why Should I be Interested in a Creating a Lent Ritual?!
The Piscean spirit (that gave rise to the ritual of Lent) is beneficial for everyone, not just for Christians. Lent can be seen as a time of retreat from the hustle and bustle of the material world, a time when we get more in touch with our reflective side, a time when we become more sensitive to our feeling and intuitive nature, and connect more to our spirituality (however you wish to define “spirituality”). In short, we get closer to our Higher Self and our true nature.
Furthermore, in modern times, Lent has gone beyond the idea of simply depriving yourself of your favorite foods. Instead, it has become a period for self-improvement, a time where one abstains from certain activities in order to improve one’s health or character. The small acts of self-discipline and sacrifice we engage in during Lent help train us to become better people — healthier, stronger and more compassionate. The point is to take this ritual, with its ancient roots in the Piscean archetype and turn it into something new and modern, that works to heal you and the planet at this time.
The Connection between Lent and Mercury Retrograde March 5th – 28th
This year, Mercury goes retrograde a day before Lent begins! This significantly increases the power of this year’s Lent period. A retrograde Mercury in Pisces is all about retreat, reflection, devotion, compassion, sacrifice, unity with God/dess (and the planet and the Universe.) It is all about spirituality, high ideals and performing selfless acts.
Think of this retrograde time as a time to RE-set your self and your life, and Lent as the ritual to help you do that. It is also a great time to cultivate mindfulness and gratitude. Scientific research is showing us how potent the practice of cultivating mindfulness and gratitude can be in combating stress, depression and anxiety. Doing something simple for Lent, such as choosing to be more mindful on a daily basis or setting aside 10 minutes a day to write in a gratitude journal can have far-reaching effects in your life.
How to Create Your Own Lent Ritual
To create your own personal Lent ritual, try to keep it in line with the spirit of Pisces– choose a ritual that involves a little bit of a personal sacrifice (albeit a healthy sacrifice– the goal is not to induce difficult suffering here!) Pick an activity that will ultimately help you, another being, or the planet. Your sacrifice is a gift you will give to yourself, another being or to the planet, for 40 days, leading up to Easter.
While this ritual is a practice that ultimately benefits you, your sacrifice should “cost” you a bit –it should cost you some time, some effort, or some convenience. No pain means no gain for you or the planet. If you think this sounds kind of difficult, just think of it as a New Year’s Resolution, but it’s only for 40 days instead of a year! So… easy-peazy, right? And if you find that you are successful during your 40 day Lent commitment, you can take it further past 40 days too, and make it a full time commitment, but only if you want to.
Every time you feel a pinch of inconvenience, you can offer this feeling up in love as a gift and as a service to yourself, to someone else, the planet, or to God/dess, over and over, day after day, until the 40 days are done.
Some Suggestions for a 40-Day Lent Ritual
Ask yourself: what gift can I give to myself or to another being, or to the planet right now? Try to identify a negative habit you engage in regularly — a habit that you, the people around you or the planet would be better off without! Start there. And your ritual doesn’t have to be super tough or difficult either in order for it to still be effective and healing. A little goes a long way over 40 days.
Pick ONE of the following, or make up your own ritual:
- try a no-spend challenge. 40 days of saving your money and not buying anything except the essentials (food, bills and medicine.) After the 40 days are over, put the money you save toward paying off a debt. Or give the money to your favorite charity.
- commit to doing regular sessions of yoga or other exercise to calm your mind and improve your health. You can choose a daily schedule, or every-other day etc.
- give up junk food for 40 days!
- try a zero-waste challenge to help reduce the amount of garbage on the planet. Buy only things that can be re-used, composted, or recycled. Buy nothing that comes wrapped in plastic. Shop in bulk food stores, using re-useable cloth bags. See how little garbage you can produce in 40 days.
- keep a gratitude journal for 40 days. Write in it daily about the little things that happened during the day that made you feel happy or grateful
- go vegan for 40 days (for the environment, for the animals and for your health)
- cultivate mindfulness — give up multi-tasking and focus only on one activity at a time for 40 days in order to enjoy activities more and immerse yourself deeper in life.
- practice mindful eating — do not eat on the run or in front of the TV or while looking at your phone or a book. Eat at a table, thinking only about your meal. Eat like monks do–in silence, with gratitude. Eat slowly, savoring each flavor and chewing thoroughly.
- spend more time with someone who is longing for your company. Commit to visiting them or phoning them every few days.
- do a 40 day self-love challenge. Spend an allotted time each day dwelling on your talents, gifts and the things that you do right!
- Create your own ideas!
Set Your Ritual Up for Success
In order to get the most out of this Lent ritual, you will have to do a bit of pre-planning so that all your good intentions don’t come crashing down by the second day. A new commitment will take time and energy, so plan how you are going to fit this into your schedule now, before Lent starts. For example, if you are planning to go vegan, collect recipes and information now, and shop for a few groceries you will need. Or if you are planning on doing a yoga experience, seek out some online videos or look for a class in your neighbourhood and plan your schedule.
How much time you spend each day or each week on our ritual is up to you — only you know what works in your life. Don’t make the ritual so ambitious that you are not able to meet the demands. Give yourself some wiggle room so that you can succeed doing this for 40 days.
Developing Spiritual Muscles: Lent Starts in Pisces Season but Continues Into Aries Season
There is a reason Lent starts in Pisces Season! During Pisces Season, we are full of positive ideals and gentle spiritual notions. We are also more willing to be compassionate, altruistic and self-sacrificing. But when Aries Season kicks in (after March 20th), we become more brash, self-oriented, ego-oriented and hungry for immediate gratification. As a result, Aries Season puts our Lent commitment to the test: Are you able to sustain your ideals, your compassion, and self-discipline during a season when the energies will tempt you to do the opposite? This is when spiritual ritual becomes character-building! And developing this spiritual muscle and fortitude is ultimately one of the greatest benefits of practicing Lent.
Make Your Ritual Successful by using Astrology to Help you Stay on Track:
March 5th 2019 Mercury goes Retrograde,
March 6, 2019 –Lent Begins Sun conjuncts Neptune
You are off to a good start! Your aspirations and ideals are high and you might even be feeling super connected to the spiritual component of your plans. It’s time to go into retreat mode and to begin to explore your Lent practice.
March 8th, 2019 Sun sextiles Saturn
Your high ideals and ambitions for this Lent season are now being assisted by some practical energy from the cosmos. As a result, you are better able to put in the required effort, and to do the work to make your ritual goals happen in reality (not just in your head.) You are getting into the nitty-gritty of your ritual now and are ready to take on the responsibility and the extra work.
March 15th to the 17th 2019 Mercury square Jupiter, sextile Pluto and Mars
You might be bursting with ideas and learning a great deal thanks to your Lent ritual now. The commitment is giving you a lot of mental and maybe even spiritual insight. You might feel the irresistible urge to talk, write or otherwise share your experiences. While it is great to tell people what you are doing and how it is impacting you, resist the urge to preach that others must do the same, because Jupiter might tip you into that direction now. Instead of trying to fix others now, keep focusing on your self and your own goals.
March 20th 2019 – SPRING EQUINOX – Aries Season Starts Sun ingress into Aries, Mars trine Pluto
Life switches into slightly faster gear. The energy shifts from water (feeling, emotion, spirituality) to fire (action and adventure). With the start of Aries Season, your Lent commitment might feel more difficult — you might be getting tired of all this sacrifice and self-denial and are beginning to get more self-oriented, wanting to indulge in self-gratification and speedier results. This might require you to double down on your commitment. A good strategy might be to view this ritual as a personal challenge or test where you compete against your self. (The Aries energy enjoys sport and loves a good competition!) If you feel bogged down by your ritual now, then tell yourself you will do the ritual “just for today.” Then do the same process when tomorrow comes!
March 21st, 2019 Venus Square Mars, Venus Sextile Jupiter
You might be feeling contrary around this date, or might get into a spat with someone close, maybe your partner. Also possible: they might pick this time to let you know that your Lent commitment is an inconvenience for them. Ride it out — stay committed to your goals and gently remind your partner (and yourself) that inconvenience is the name of the game, when it comes to Lent! That is where all the benefit lies! And besides, Lent will not go on forever. Love wins out in the end, restoring generosity and good feelings, thanks to Venus sextiling Jupiter.
March 20th- 22nd, 2019 Sun conjunct Chiron And Full Moon March 20th
Your Lent commitment might come under some fire during this time, especially on March 22nd at 11:37 am PST. Possible scenario: low energy, low vitality, feeling out of sorts or unhappy, feeling sick, feeling emotionally hurt (or others around you are). You might become keenly aware of your own suffering, or someone else’s. The astrological energies are clear now: we are not allowed to be self-centered during this time — we must take into account the feelings and perspectives of others, especially if those feelings are hurt. If you are having a tough day (or others around you are), remember to breathe deep and keep offering it all up as your gift to the planet. It is temporary, and it will pass.
March 24th, 2019 Mercury conjunct Neptune
You might be feeling spaced out, confused or forgetful around this time. Staying organized might feel impossible and life might seem chaotic as a result. Hang in there. Don’t give up. Look for a repeat of this energy around April 2nd when the same situation arises again, seeking resolution.
March 27th, 2019 Venus sextile Uranus
There is a chance for more fun and excitement now. Novel experiences and new people bring a refreshing change to your life. Try doing your ritual practice in a different or unique way in order to avoid stagnation or hum drum. Lent doesn’t need to be boring. Bring some excitement in.
March 28th – 30th, 2019 Mercury Goes Direct, Mars enters Gemini
Life seems to get busier now and for the next few weeks. There will be far more social interaction, visiting, texting, phone calls and email to deal with. This will probably feel like a relief. You might be feeling like you have more traction in life and that you can go forward once again. It is time to come out of retreat mode and join the world a bit more now. Stay committed to your Lent practice though. The biggest challenge will be mindfulness now — those who accepted “mindfulness” commitments might start to backslide! The energy in the universe will tempt you to multi-task and get distracted and unfocused. Stay focused and committed!
April 3, 2019 Mars sextile Chiron
A healing conversation might be in order now, and extremely beneficial. Don’t be afraid to address some hot button issues too, especially ones concerning sex, gender, women’s rights, toxic masculinity. Some good might come out of this.
April 4th, 2019 Pluto conjuncts South Node in Capricorn
During the past few weeks, you might have felt an energy force building that was trying to show you what you need to let go of in order to move forward in life. It might come to a head today. This could be really important for your Lent practice– maybe you will get insights on how to make your new habits permanent ones. Or you might get insights on what attitudes need to be released from your life in order for you to be more nurturing to the planet and all the beings on it, including yourself.
April 5th, 2019– New Moon in Aries
A brand new start happens now, in many different ways. Take a moment to reflect on your Lent practice — what would you like to grow from this experience? What would you like to take with you into the future? (And conversely, what would you like to leave behind?) Ideas and plans are seeds during this time–they will grow into something bigger. Engage with this process intentionally, and your power to shape your life is doubled.
April 9th, 2019 Venus conjunct Neptune
Take a moment to meditate, or spend time in solitude to reflect on your Lent practice–your mind has access to higher realms of wisdom now, and a spiritual love flows strong. So does idealism. You can use this spiritual connection to help you re-commit to your Lent ritual for the remainder of the time.
April 10th, 2019 Sun square Saturn
You might feel you are hitting a road block, now — perhaps you are feeling deprived or like your ritual is just too much work. Your attitude might become pessimistic, or you might feel like what your doing isn’t “good enough”. The negative mood is temporary–adjust your practice for a bit and keep going.
April 9, 10, 11, 2019 –-repeat of Mercury square Jupiter, sextile Pluto and Mars
This energy is a repeat of the same forces operating last March 15th–17th, involving learning, communicating, and ideas. Share your thoughts and experiences now about your ritual and the effects it has had on you and your life, but resist the urge to preach or tell others to copy what you are doing.
April 11-13, 2019 -Sun square Pluto and the Nodes in Cancer/Capricorn
Self-centered ambition might trip you up now. So could acting in a way that is combative, impersonal or emotionally inhibited and repressed. You might feel tempted to skip all the touchy-feely stuff, but that will cost you. Stay nurturing and emotionally connected now–to yourself and to others, even when you are at work (especially when you are at work!) If you don’t, you will just create a “skipped step”: a karmic issue that you will just have to deal with in the future again. So get it right–now.
April 14th and 15th, 2019 Venus sextile Pluto and square Jupiter, Sun trine Jupiter
A lovely few days where the focus is on love, generosity and spirituality. It’s time to bring this Lent ritual home now — you are on the last stretch.
April 18th, 2019 — Lent ends! Congratulations! You did it!
Thinking of trying a Lent ritual? Leave a comment below and tell us what you are planning to do!
For more information on how Lent season will affect your own natal chart, or for a personal reading contact Danielle.