Here we are, back at the gates of suffering, faithfully (re)entering the annual festival of death and rebirth. This fun-filled ride conveys us through a dark, river cave tunnel of (meta)physical and spiritual shadows, accelerating at terrifying speed past leering spectres of condemnation, suffering and obliteration. Who is that poor, bleeding man nailed to a pole with his arms outstretched?
Here in the West, Christians observe Easter as a potent symbol of sacrifice that mirrors the ugly flaws in our humanity through the utterly abject story of crucifixion. We reflect on our own betrayals, our inner and outer torment/s, torture, our miseries, our self-denial, our brutality, martyrdom, grief and loss, and we (try to) strive, through the power of prayer and forgiveness, to find absolution, transmutation, purification and liberation from all the pain. We are taught that Sin, Guilt and Penance are the best game-tokens to wield and wisely, in order to find redemption.
Resurrection offers us the gift of ‘going beyond’, showing us the courage needed to overcome the shadow. Resurrection, as a concept, grants us all a very big miracle, through the grace and symbolism of the ‘Easterly’ ascension. Such powerful demonstrations must be internally reconciled, and then spread, in order to be shared in tacit harmony with all of humanity.
And um,… those tasty chocolate eggs borne by the magic rabbit? Hot cross buns? What part do these terrific tokens of transformation play in the holy sacraments of Easter? Is this our Last Supper? No, that’s just for the kids. We’re having Atlantic salmon with a nice chablis? Let’s invite all our friends to come and stay for the weekend, or we could get Aunty Rhonda to babysit and we’ll slip off for a few relaxing days at the beach-house with Ralphe and Truedi?
And…why’s it called Easter?
Could it have anything to do with Astarte? That very fertile Goddess of sex, war and death previously adored by many ancient civilisations including the Ancient Egyptians, Sumerians, Babylonians, Phoenicians and beyond? It’s interesting to notice that there’s a common shout-out to the very same holy themes of birth, death and rebirth. Immaculate conception requires a divinely inspired condition of fertility (those rabbits again, right?) and the ubiquitous egg theme. I see a pattern here. Astarte -> Easter -> Oestre -> Eggs, Fertility, Estrogen, Creatrix. Better get those hot cross buns in the oven.
All the demonisation, condemnation and obliteration of the ancient goddess figureheads (Innana, Astarte, Isis, Ishtar et al) by the cleansing rise of strident Christian patriarchy foreshadows the very same path of destruction suffered by the Christ; the same cycle of condemnation, suffering and obliteration. Will we never learn?
Easter’s profoundly existential themes offer us a timely festival of resurrection and redemption, to put aside our petty gripes, to reconcile, to surrender our egos and our earthly desires. Time to surrender fully to that which is highest in ourselves. Imagine if we spent just a few days fasting, contemplating the big picture, dusting off and resurrecting truth. Perhaps Easter is truly just a gift of time and love that enables us to sow new seeds of compassion, generosity, sincerity, integrity, charity, benevolence, forgiveness (of self and others). What an exquisite garden of wonders that would be.
Drive safely, peace and goodwill to all…