Tomorrow is the Vernal Equinox...Ostara for those who speak Pagan. I promise, this isn't going to turn into one of those blogs that continually natter on about religion and how "somebody done us wrong" and all that. I know I just left that huge pile of steaming rant about St. Patrick's day, but that was more about history than spirituality. I knew all that stuff long before I shifted gears spiritually. This, however, is about religion and history.
So tomorrow is Ostara, and today mum, Bird, and I are going to paint eggs. Tomorrow, Bird will wake to find a little basket with a tiny chocolate bunny or two, some jelly beans, a couple of little toys in it. I'll probably hang it from his doorknob.
Ostara was (and still is) a sacred day - the returning of the sun's strength, the coming of Spring, the beginning of new life. After long winters - short, cold days and long, bitter nights, bare trees, no food, nothing to do but huddle in the back of the cave/hut/two-storey brick-and-board neo-colonial and scromp (if you don't know what scromping is, think about it a while. You'll figure it out.)(Pagans liked to scromp a lot, which may be one of the reasons certain other religions started frowning on the whole scromping thing). It's a celebration of new life. That's why the rabbits - 'cause, you know, they breed like...well...themselves. Ostara is/was a time to go out into the fields and bless them, invite fertility in some fun and interesting ways. It's also why the eggs. Again with the invoking of bounty in the coming year.
When Christianity was getting its toe-hold in the world, the "church" did something quite smart. It took note of when the prevailing religions of the time had their biggest shindigs, and it began holding high holy days then, too. It went hand-in-hand with building churches on sacred space, and it was sound (if rather rude) logic - build where they already worship and they'll come hang out. Celebrate when they do, and it isn't too foreign to them - more likely to convert peacefully. If you go to Europe and visit some of the oldest churches, you'll see interesting things in the rafters and darker corners - some very pagan critters staring at you with a wink and a grin. Hey, who do you think built those churches? Locals, of course!
Bird loves to color eggs. I put him in a white t-shirt and let him loose, and he ends up with a festive shirt and a big ol' grin on his face. I write blessings on the ones I do, and the things I hope for in the coming year. I like to think that when I eat the egg, I'm taking those blessings into myself. We talk about how the days will be getting longer, hotter, and how it's spring - flowers coming out, trees blooming, time for gardens (if you do that sort of thing, which we don't really, but should) and things hatching and being born. It's such an optimistic time of year.
It doesn't bother me that people color eggs, have egg-finds, give baskets when they aren't pagan. Sometimes I think it's downright funny, especially when it's someone who is sort of...rabid...about their faith. They can't possibly know what they're doing, or they's stop. I just want folks to understand what they do, the history of it, the reasoning behind it. I don't do blind faith (which isn't to say that I won't take a leap of faith), and I wish other wouldn't do it, either. I don't think any God wants sheeple worshiping "because they should, that's why", but would rather have thinking folk, well aware of the intent behind what they do and why they do it.
I'm into that Zen mindfulness, can you tell? So I'll leave you with this, because laughter unites us, whoever we worship:
Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!
"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One
For old quotes, look here.
For old quotes, look here.