The Mission Hills United Methodist Church is having its Centennial Celebration this weekend. Newly restored to its original splendor, the Craftsman-style church I grew up in – with its awe-inspiring stained glass windows and gleaming woodwork – has been a bastion of the community for a hundred years.
My parents joined the church in 1948, just after they were married. Mom made beautiful music in the choir with her best friend Pauline, and Dad donned his finest suit each Sunday to pass the collection plate. We hosted church barbeques in our backyard, and my folks played bridge with other church couples. I studied the Ten Commandments in Bible School, and shared a passionate embrace with my first boyfriend to the thundering sounds of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” at a church-sponsored dance.
At 15, I announced to my parents that I would no longer be attending Sunday services. Dad didn’t care, as he rarely went anymore, but Mom was furious. Though never especially devout, the church was her community. Yet Christianity had failed to answer a deeper spiritual call within me, and I rebelled at being forced to continue. From that point on, I attended only on special occasions.
Years later the church hosted both my parents’ memorial services, but I was not tempted to return to the fold. Yet when I received an invitation to Christmas eve services last month, something prompted me to go. It was deeply comforting to be back in the elegant old dowager’s embrace, singing the carols I knew so well, greeting those who remembered me. I even took Communion. I do not believe that Jesus died for my sins, yet I found that I could still be true to myself while worshiping with those who believe differently.
Next week’s Aquarius New Moon (Jan. 20, 5:14 a.m. PST) falling a day before Mercury turns retrograde in Aquarius, calls us back to community. We’ve come a long way in knowing who we are and what we believe. Now it’s time to reconnect with old friends or groups who know us well – even if we diverge in certain ways. Because of its retrograde, Mercury spends a long time in the sign of fellowship and fraternity – from Jan. 4 through March 12. This gives us plenty of time to do the Aquarian thing and revisit those connections that once held meaning for us. In the process, we’re apt to rediscover important parts of ourselves. Even if we don’t stay forever, there can be beauty and magic in touching base.
You have all weekend to prepare your Helpful People gua (to the right of the front door as you enter) before doing a New Moon ritual to call forth helpful connections on this plane or the next. For guidance, check out this Aquarius New Moon ritual from my book, Astro Feng Shui: Making Magic in Your Home and Life.