It is a vivid epic fantasy that transports you to a time and place where earth magic was real and the gods of nature walked the land; where you can connect with an ancient myth of meaning.
The Original Easter - Rebirth of the Earth
The original Easter is for every person, young or old, who want to celebrate this ancient tradition with its deeper, environment centred meaning.
Many people know Easter has its roots in pagan mythology, but do they know its true power and meaning?
Hundreds of years before the Christ figure was born, Pagan rituals were prevalent in the mediterranean regions. Pagan rituals and practices were centred around the natural environment, with their concept of deity existing in the various natural and personal forms. People derived their power and peace from their connection to the land around them. Pagans worshipped the land, recognising their innate connection to the physical world. They centred their worship around multiple gods, often represented in the seasons and moons.
How did we lose the meaning of such an important celebration?
A turning point in the history of the pagan earth-rebirth celebration (now called Easter) came in 325 CE when the Roman Emperor, Constantine–recently converted to Christianity, held the famous Council of Nicea.
This council was one of the tectonic shifts in the religious struggles that would forever change the global religious landscape. The second item on the agenda for this council was how to deal with the three competing celebrations that took place around the time of the vernal equinox, another vestige of the pagan rituals. The most popular was the pagan naturalist celebration, with the Christological battle primarily between the Jewish passover and the the Christian Lent.
A politically astute Constantine saw the opportunity to reconcile these into a single ritual, and in the process promote his newly beloved Christian faith from the tolerated religion–one of many, to not only the preferred religion, but in one foul swoop, the state-sponsored religion. The removal of the Jewish passover was more intractable than he thought, and left it alone. However the nature-loving pagan tradition was not as organised and powerful as the emerging Christian movement and was easy for Constantine to appropriate some of their symbols and rituals into their own. The egg was painted Cardinal red and the Christ Cross, originally the pagan symbol for the compass points, became the symbol for rebirth new life, the resurrection of the Jesus figure.
It can be said that from that time on, the original naturalist Easter was forever lost from the world.
How do we get an egg from a mammal rabbit?
While a question often posed by the young and young at heart, the mythical answer seems quite simple.
If Eostra transformed a bird into a rabbit, the egg-creation powers of a bird can be transferred to Esotra's Chosen One, an all powerful rabbit, now the symbol of fertility and queen of spring.
What was the meaning of this ancient festival?
The vernal equinox, the first day of spring, was an important time in the Pagan calendar, where the symbols of rabbits and eggs represented fertility and new life. While tales vary, one of the most likely interpretations of the traditions linked back to Mother Spring transforming a dying earth bird into a rabbit and bequeathing her the destiny to restore harmony to the land. Crystals were an important part of the pagan expression, with various crystals being a focal and enhancing agent for their connected power. In many early traditions the first eggs were crystals, their shape
As with all oral tales, fairytale and folklore were the dominant methods of teaching principles and histories to children. These histories and tales morphed through the ages as they were spread from region to region. However the underlying principles attached to these pagan myths were consistent. The worship of multiple, nature-centred gods or divine manifestation; the centrality of the divine feminine; the connection to the animal kingdom as idol representations of our own inner animal; and an understanding of the natural world as central to our existence.
It was in these principles the tale of the spring renewal was born and passed on through the generations. These are not historical events; they are oral tales and myths that gave rise to a worshiping of the land and our connection to it, a recognition that we are part of an ecology, and as the master sentient beings on the land we have an opportunity and a responsibility to be responsible stewards over that ecology. What a powerful message for a global Easter celebration, not just for pagans and Wiccan's, but for every person who loves and cares for the land and our role as humans in it!
Why is the naturalist Easter important for us today?
Many people around the world today lament the empty commercialism attached to our rituals and traditions. Easter is one of those traditions. Some use religion to find a deeper meaning aligned with their own personal belief system or cultural birthright. However a large and growing sector of humanity resist this force and seek a common level of language and significance, one that that is relevant to our modern lives. Often this manifests itself in gift-giving to express ones feelings for another, as well as connection with each other through the ceremony of breaking bread at meal times.
With a renewed understanding in our myths we can seek new meaning to enrich our existing celebrations. People can now hark back to an ancient time and seek messages relevant for them today. In the case of the original pagan Easter, perhaps the message is relevant today: that of connecting with and caring for our land and each other. The message of the original Easter is a myth we can connect to and gift to each other.