At least two bloggers I read have been talking about giving something up for Lent – Cin from Witchy Rambles and Medea from Black Vanity Mirror. Considering I’ve been cracking jokes about taking advantage of the fish specials at so many local restaurants lately, I can’t say that Lent wasn’t on my mind before that, though.
I first thought about it when I watched Stephen Colbert‘s interview with Nancy Pelosi last Wednesday – he did the show with his forehead annointed in ash, and so I couldn’t help thinking about the fact that it was Ash Wednesday even though I’d somehow totally missed Mardi Gras.
I grew up Catholic. I think I may have mentioned this here before? I gave up chocolate pretty much every year, which was a pretty safe bet because I didn’t see a lot of candy between Valentine’s and Easter. And while I got into paganism as a teen, I did circle back around to Catholicism in my early twenties. I went to church at least once a week, did confession, prayed the Rosary, recited in Latin, had my little altar to the saints and angels, and spent way too much time and effort on Enochian. This was when I was neck-deep in my theology degree and comparing the various angelic references in the writings of the doctors of the Church for fun. That was what I did to kick back on the weekends.
Yeah, I was a nerdy little Catholic mage. It’s not really a surprise I ended up Heathen, is it? The more homework a religion has, the more interested I am in it. And honestly, Heathenism still has a long way to go if it wants to think of itself as the most academic of religions. (Our Trothain’t got nothin’ on the Summa Theologica, I’m just sayin.)
The second time I severed my bonds with Catholicism, it was a much cleaner cut. I no longer go to Advent or Lenten services just because they feel familiar. I still have the rosary I got from my grandmother, and a few other obviously-Catholic-tinged altar pieces, but they’re intended as ancestor pieces. Catholicism isn’t really my thing, it’s the religion of my ancestors, and I respect it as such, but I no longer practice it. Borrowing Lent would feel as weird to me as borrowing any other holiday from a religion I don’t practice at all.
To those of you doing it, though, I wish you good luck and I hope you get a lot out of it. I’m curious, if you’re a non-Christian who’s observing Lent, did you grow up Catholic or is this something you first encountered as an adult?