In the following article you’ll get a sense of one man’s take on Easter. People, there are lots of truths there. For us non-Christian folks let’s navigate the holiday wisely (especially if our children are in school). Although we may not go to church with our extended family why not check in with them for lunch or dinner on Good Friday and/or Easter? Do what speaks to you. It’s important to get that family time in. Go outside and have fun!
P.S.- Not feeling the bunny/egg/jelly bean vibes? That’s easy to handle. Just say “no thanks” when someone offers them to you. Speeches aren’t necessary. Now for those of us non-religious vegan folks who don’t have an issue with these things simply ask “is it vegan?” If you’re comfy with the ingredients by all means indulge yourself. There are plenty of treats we can make/buy these days ie.
Easter is Pagan
Easter is inherently pagan. This is hard for many Christians to swallow but believe me, it is true. In fact, the name “Easter” comes from the Anglo-Saxon goddess Easter. She was a sex and fertility goddess. She was also goddess of the dawn. (Note that the word “Easter” shares the same root as “east” and “eastern, ” the place of the rising sun.) Her sacred animal was the rabbit or the hare and “easter eggs” were given in her honor. In fact, some scholars believe that the giving of eggs at the vernal equinox (i.e. Easter) may go back as far as 20, 000 years ago to ancient Mesopotamia. According to Jewish accounts, Abraham was from Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) . He may have indeed witnessed such pagan customs himself. Do you think he engaged in such practices?
Easter is commonly celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. To early Christians, it was important that not only the sun, but also the moon were in the equinoctial zodiac sign. This shows that astrology was well received and accepted by early Christians. The vernal equinox is the time of spring, and the length of the day and night is equal in duration. Thus, it is the pagan symbol of light overcoming darkness. From death comes life and from darkness, light.
The winter solstice (December 25th) is when the pagans celebrated the birth of the sun god. Christians today celebrate the birth of Jesus on the same date with sacred trees (tree worship) . The pagans celebrated this date as the sun god’s birth because it is the longest night of the year, after which, the length of days become longer. It is at the vernal equinox (Easter) that day and night are equal and the orb of day overcomes the darkness. Life overcomes the jaws of death. Behold! He is risen.
Many Christians will note that this festival is only called “Easter” in the West. Quite true. It is the celebration of Passover, or “Pesach” in Hebrew. In the Bible, when the Jews were in Egypt, God was about to send one of his horrid plagues (the death of the first born) . The Jews were instructed to slay a “lamb” and to rub the lamb’s blood on the doors of their homes. In this way, God would see the blood of the lamb and “pass over” them. This is where the holiday gets the name “Passover.” The blood of the lamb caused the Jews to escape the wrath of God.
In the same way, Christians see the blood of Jesus (the lamb) as protecting them from the Hebrew God’s wrath. I might add here that Osiris was also referred to as the “lamb” of god in ancient litanies in reference to the sun in the zodiac sign of Aries. These concepts have existed long before Christianity ever even existed. The new religion must be based upon the stock of those that came before. There are no “new” ideas in religion. Only a recycling of concepts and a remixing to give new meaning to followers of organized religion. This is what religious structures, by their very nature, are based upon. These are universal themes in world mythology, all based in astro-theology (the worship of the sun and the reverence for the stars and constellations) .
The vernal equinox is also when many ancient mystery and sun cults honored the mythological death and resurrection of the sun. The Egyptian god Osiris was betrayed at a feast or supper. The god Set betrayed him and he was murdered. Osiris rose from the dead and this event was celebrated in Egypt at the vernal equinox (Easter) . This is why the rising sun is of such central importance to such fertility cults, from which Christianity derives its festivities.
The Greek goddess Persephone once lived in perfect bliss on mount Olympus. She was in paradise. Hades, the Lord of the Underworld (who plays the role of the “serpent” here) tricked Persephone into eating the forbidden fruit: the pomegranate. The pomegranate was the forbidden fruit of mortality. Persephone was deceived and plucked the fruit and ate thereof. Hades took her in his chariot to the Underworld, to the land of those whose food is dust and mud. There Hades raped her and forced her to be his bride.
To the Mystery cult of Eluseus (which the Greek philosopher Socrates mentions) , Persephone symbolized the soul of humanity, which once existed in a state of perfect bliss and fell from grace. Her mother Demeter pleaded for her return and Hades finally agreed to let Persephone return half the year, but the other half of the year she must remain with him. This was symbolic of reincarnation, rebirth. Each vernal equinox her return was a resurrection and the flowers bloomed with joy. From death cometh new life.
The Syrian fertility god Attys was annually hung on a tree and resurrected. In other myths, he was killed by a wild bore and reborn from a “myhhr” tree. The concept of death and resurrection at the vernal equinox is ancient and deeply rooted. There are countless other examples of the “death and resurrection” theme. Once again, these are age-old pagan motifs. They are symbolic of Man’s quest for the death of his or her lower nature, that the spiritual seed within us may be reborn.
To the ancient sun cults, the death and resurrection myth was a great cosmic allegory, which symbolized the tests and trials of initiation. The initiate of the mystery schools must die and be “born again.” This symbolized spiritual rebirth. The red color that the Easter eggs often had was an allusion to Mars. The vernal equinox is when the sun was in Aries and from which March derives its name (from Mar-s) .
Christianity has been built upon the stock of paganism. Successfully so, indeed. Paganism, which Christianity has so faithfully preserved, remains intact to this day. Did Christianity ‘steal’ these ideas from the ancient pagan religions and beliefs? To this, there are two different answers: one theory is that of diffusion, i.e. plagiarism and that culture “a” copied off culture “b”, and the other theory is that these mythological themes are actually imprinted upon the consciousness of humanity and will return again and again in various religions and cultures from around the world.
Perhaps it is a mix of both.