Do you remember the game Telephone? You would whisper a short sentence into someone’s ear, and they would then turn and whisper it to the person seated on their other side. By the time the message had passed through a dozen people it was so different from the original it had everyone laughing hysterically.
That game came to mind when I was wondering (and I bet you were too!) how did we go from a pagan holiday, the resurrection of Christ, Pentecost, Passover to The Easter Bunny, a male egg-laying rabbit (remember, the Easter Bunny’s name is Peter and he wears a bow tie) who sneaks into homes the night before Easter to deliver baskets full of colored eggs, toys and chocolate?
Let’s follow the bouncing matzo ball through the timeline of these seasonal holidays and then we’ll tie it all together with how the shared symbolism can apply to your life now. Ready?… let’s go.
Bunnies and Easter and Matzos…..Oh My!
A SPRING GODDESS
The name “Easter” was likely derived from Eostre, (or Oestara) the name of the Anglo-Saxon lunar goddess, as was the name for the female hormone estrogen. Eostre’s feast day was held on the first full moon following the vernal equinox (First day of spring). A similar calculation is used for Easter among Western Christians. On this date the goddess Eostre is believed by her followers to mate with the solar god, miraculously conceiving a child who would be born 9 months later on Yule, the winter solstice which falls on December 21st. Now…isn’t that interesting
Easter is the sacred celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Prior to Easter is Lent– a period of spiritual renewal. Easter Sunday or Resurrection Day is typically the well-attended Sunday service of the year for Christian churches.
Pentecost is the festival that marks the birth of the Christian church by the power of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost means “fiftieth day” and is celebrated fifty days after Easter.
Originally an agricultural festival celebrating the end of the winter grain harvest (which began at Passover), Shavuot later commemorated the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mt. Sinai. Shavuot occurs… guess when? 50 days after Passover!
Passover is also directly linked to springtime, with the Torah repeatedly describing Passover as “the holiday of Spring.” Spring follows the darkness of Winter and Passover celebrates the Jews going from slavery (a metaphorical darkness) to freedom (a new life).
TIE IT ALL TOGETHER……
Two of Eostre’s most important symbols were the hare (aka Peter Cottontail) both because of its fertility and because ancient people saw a hare in the full moon) and the egg, which symbolized the growing possibility of new life.
The pagans hung on to the rabbit and eventually it became a part of Christian celebration. We don’t know exactly when, but it’s first mentioned in German writings from the 1600s. The Germans converted the pagan rabbit image into Oschter Haws, a rabbit that was believed to lay a nest of colored eggs as gifts for good children even though he is believed to be a male.
And those Jelly beans……
Although they are now a traditional Easter candy it wasn’t always so. The Jelly bean did not become associated with the holiday until the 1930s. The association derives from their egg-like shape, which renders it a symbol of fertility and birth. And if you can stand just one more parallel: “The Sleeping Beauty”
The story of The Sleeping Beauty can also be interpreted as a nature myth: the Princess represents Nature, the Wicked Fairy is Winter, who puts the Court to sleep with pricks of frost until the Prince (Spring) cuts away the brambles with his sword (a sunbeam) to allow the sun to awaken sleeping Nature. Amazing, is it not? But we’re not quite complete. Let’s go back to the beginning and find our gem of inspiration.
Beltane is one of two primary Celtic festivals. Beltane marks the passage into the growing season, the immediate rousing of the earth from her gently awakening slumber. Beltane is about honoring Life.
Special Note: For all you Law of Attraction and ritual enthusiasts, take note that Beltane (like Samhain, its Winter counterpart) is a time of “no time” when the veils between the two worlds are at their thinnest. “No time” is when the two worlds intermingle and unite and the magic abounds. This year Beltane falls on May 1st
Surely Spring, in every religion is recognized as a time of resurrection and transformation. Take full advantage of the energy of the season and release outworn beliefs and transform outmoded ideas. Plant seeds of forgiveness, love, happiness and those of your passion, desires and dreams!
For extra Pa-wow (a word I made up) for your intentions, check out Astrologer, Maya White’s site at MayaWhite.com. She has some really special information about an incredible Golden Trine taking place March 12-15th. week.
As always, wishing you a Magical and Miraculous life!