Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Hope Is Reborn Every Spring

Myth runs deeply in any culture, even down to the very core where collective memories are held which individual minds have all but forgotten. How else can you explain the joy of Easter? In the Bible Belt of the Deep South, even conservative fundamentalists seem to have no qualms about celebrating a holiday named after the Great Mother Goddess of Northern Europe, Eostre (a.k.a. Eastre). Even though the holiday was given Christian trappings centuries ago, the term "Easter" is nowhere to be found in the Bible. Easter is, after all, associated with the vernal equinox as was the ancient rite of the Mother Goddess, whose name the holiday still bears. This makes sense to us as we live within the natural rhythms of the earth. When we begin to see new life arising all around us, and we feel the chill of winter letting go, we naturally feel the hope of new life deep within us. 

The heart celebrates; the mind later tries to give meaning to the experience. It is only natural that the greatest hope that Christianity has to offer would become inexorably linked with the greatest blessing the earth has to give.

Years ago, I wrote a poem relating one Easter experience. It was something I had wanted to write about and finally found the vehicle to present it when I began writing about a snow day. As we are emerging from a cold winter, looking ahead to Easter, may the memories expressed here color your expectation as you wait. 

Southern Snowfall
It was one of those rare days
When all the conditions were right
And a bright soft snow fell
All day long.
Everything was covered in beauty.
Unneeded activity came to a halt.
No hurry.
A wonderful quiet in the city.
All is well.
It will last a day (two at the most)
Then there will be mud and slush
And life as usual.

One Easter at midnight mass
I suddenly saw that everyone was aglow.
A subtle light from within
Revealed wonder in every person,
Joy in every action.
Everything was covered in beauty
And I was completely connected
(Not the usual outsider).
No doubt that all shall be well.
Life returned to normal after a day (two at the most)
Except I carried with me the realization
That what was seen only for an instant
Is always true,
Even while life goes on as usual.
                                                                  ~ CK

Top: Illustration of Ēostre by Jacques Reich, originally with the caption "Eástre."
From  Myths of the Norsemen by H.A. Guerber (1909)
Public Domain 
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Bottom: People hold candles during an Easter vigil mass in the Cathedral in Vilnius, Lithuania
Image found at Word of Technology


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