Easter, like all American holidays, has become about buying a lot and eating a lot.
First of all, it doesn’t have to be that way. Life, and all the holidays within it, are what we make of them. I personally don’t want to be a main stream over consuming human trying to be cool like most people. I relish in the idea of making new traditions for the holidays, being different, having a new way that is in alignment with the way I live my life.
Regarding the Christian roots of Easter and the resurrection of Jesus… Whether we are Christian or not, we can celebrate the resurrection of life in the springtime including ourselves.
I was raised Catholic. I no longer identify as Catholic. I respect and give thanks for where I came from and I made a different choice. Perhaps I’ll share more about that another time. For now, I’ll simply share that I refused to be part of an organisation which does not welcome everyone- race, sexual orientation, beliefs, background, etc. I have been proudly going to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo for ten years now on and off. I consider myself “spiritual”. For the record, I have a great relationship with Jesus. We understand each other. I’m all about his teachings – The Golden Rule, etc..
Christ is not the only one that rises from the dead. None of us ever really die. Our spirits live forever. Energy is a constant. That energy within us, our soul, has to go some place. Even in one lifetime, we have many little deaths and are reborn many times. Each time that we make a big change within ourselves, or grieve a loved one, a part of us dies and a new part is born. We are born new every moment. Each moment we choose to continue to be the person we have been, or to rise up within ourselves and choose to be better than we were the moment before, or the day before, or the year before. Each day is a new day. Each moment is a new moment. Have faith in your ability to change, to adapt, to grow, to become the person you strive to be.
Another example of how we can celebrate Easter is the rising of our spirits after winter. Spring cleaning, helps us to remove unnecessary clutter that is blocking us from moving forward within ourselves The letting go of this clutter and organizing our lives helps us to rise up within ourselves. The emergence of snow drops and crocuses along with the emergence of a liveliness within us that only happens when we are able to dance around in the warm sun for the first time after the thaw; and all of the little creatures coming out to play.
The origins of Easter… Now I know this may push some Christian buttons, and I don’t mean to be offensive. I respect All beliefs. However, Easter, like many holidays, has some Pagan origin. The name “Easter” originated from an ancient goddess called, Eostre. “Teutonic dawn goddess of fertility [was] known variously as Ostare, Ostara, Ostern, Eostra, Eostre, Eostur, Eastra, Eastur, Austron and Ausos.“1 She was the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people in Northern Europe. Her name was derived from the ancient word for spring: “eastre.” Eostre is the name of the Pagan festival. The rabbit or hare was Goddess Eostre’s symbol, a symbol of fertility. The exchange of eggs are also a symbol of fertility. Easter is in the spring, when animals often mate and humans may even begin to get a little more frisky after the long cold winter; hence the term “spring fever”. There is nothing evil or wrong about celebrating fertility. It’s part of life. Let’s celebrate it knowingly. Yay, it’s Easter, let’s color some eggs and celebrate fertility! It’s okay if the youngsters don’t exactly know what they are celebrating, but feel free to fill them in as well. Perhaps this is a good time for the “birds and bees” talk…?
The word, “Easter” also has the word “east” in it. This word has German and Dutch origin, from the word, “ost” or “aust”, meaning “dawn” or “toward the sunrise”. The ‘east’, in Native American and perhaps pagan traditions, is a symbol of beginnings, birth, the rise of the sun. I’m sure I’m missing some things here, feel free to comment and fill in the blanks. Either way, again with the “rising up” of things.
During this Easter holiday season, may we all rise up within ourselves and meet the person in the mirror that we strive to be. Oh yeah, how could I forget… have fun and be safe, celebrating fertility. 😉 Happy Easter!
- Larry Boemler “Asherah and Easter,” Biblical Archaeology Review, Vol. 18, Number 3, 1992-May/June reprinted at: http://www.worldmissions.org
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