“YOU CALL IT EASTER! I CALL IT OSTARA! BUT WE STILL GOTTA COLOR DEM EGGS!”
Growing up Catholic there were many things I didn’t understand about religion. Why did Mom have to pay $500 (1970 economy) to Father Jeremy at St Mary’s Church to get Uncle Jerry out of purgatory? And why did Dad then want to kill Father Jeremy? Church sounded like a scary place! Nonetheless I knew there was something to all this spiritual stuff and so I studied and read on my own, seeing more and more oddities like the earlier example. Next month we have a holiday that for many leaves them confused: how in the world do bunnies and eggs relate to the resurrection of The Christ?
Well! Gather round and I will do my best to explain. In the history of the Catholic church and the Christian movement there were many people who did not take the local paper so to speak and hence held onto their own ways of worship. (Information dissemination and propaganda moved slowly back then). These pagan tribes (by the way, pagan means poor country folk) worshipped the land and the Gods/Goddesses for health, wealth, good crops, and happiness – not unlike the prayers that go out every Sunday.
To win the land and the minds of these tribes the Church needed to show them the err of their ways. To be sure, one could pummel them into submission, but that leaves a mess and acrimony behind. History has shown that the best way to win the hearts of others (save food and cash) is to demonstrate the similarities between the native ideology and the one that the conquering party is trying to assimilate into the culture.
The pagan holiday that needed to be adopted into the Christian culture is Ostara. What is Ostara? Funny you ask! Ostara honors the Teutonic goddess, Eostre. She is a beautiful entity that embodies fertility, rebirth, renewal, the return of spring – a resurrection of life, if you will. (Well, a resurrection of plant life anyway.) One day there was a bunny that was so enamored with the goddess that he gifted her a colored egg. (No local jeweler was around at that time, I suppose.) Thrilled by this gift, this selfless act of love, Eostre asked that the bunny do the same for all. By asking the bunny to disseminate this gift to everyone She invoked one of the Universal laws: love begets love.
A similar message – though different mode – is told by the life of Jesus. Christ’s resurrection/rebirth/renewal gives people the chance to be born anew… full of love and potential possibilities. Instead of a chastising God full of revenge and malice, The Bible through Jesus shifts gears and speaks a message of love – love for all – friends, enemies, and most importantly of self. Like Eostre, Jesus taught that love begets love. And yes through The Christ all things are possible and full of potential. What else is full of potential? An egg! It is the Fool card. It is Uranian energy. It is totipotent and yet not manifest.
Long story short, The Church showed the tribes how the storyline between their pagan goddess and Jesus mirrored one another and now we have Easter egg hunts at one of the holiest Christian holidays.
Please do not go away from this article thinking that eggs, bunnies, and Eostre are evil and that we need to redo the name of the holiday and how it is celebrated. They merely represented prior to The Christ the Universal Law of love begets love. These laws (we will discuss the others next month) existed before Jesus and have been taught by many masters prior to and since his incarnation: The Buddha, Krishna, Kwan-Yin, and Paramahansa Yogananda to name a few.
How can you use this law in daily life? When someone just irritates the snot out of you stop for a moment and just breathe in pastel pink and a soft yummy green. Feel those colors fill your heart chakra. As the energy builds see a beam of energy emanate from your heart chakra to that of the individual. You do not have to understand why they are the way they are; you don’t even have to really like them at that moment. But love them for the lessons they are teaching you and allow them “to be”. We are all exactly where we need to be so that we may learn our lessons. Mantras and prayer can be used to make our lessons easier, but no one “gets it” till they “get it” – until they reach that moment of realization, of awakening, of Satori.
May your lessons be easy and gentle.
And may you learn to love yourselves enough to share that with others.