Believe it or not, every single one of our most beloved Easter traditions – decorated eggs, bunnies, baskets, feasts and the sunrise service – dates back to pre-Christian spring celebrations, including the name itself.
The name “Easter” is said to be derived from one of two pre-Christian goddesses. Most likely it is Anglo-Saxon Oestre, whose sacred talismans were flowers, the egg and the hare (a long-eared wild rabbit) to represent renewal and fertility. Another possibility is the Sumerian goddess Ishtar, whose husband Tammuz, like Osiris of Egypt, died and was resurrected, a story also told in many other cultures, and which predates Christianity by at least 500 years.
And welcoming the dawn has been a tradition of the Vernal, or Spring Equinox, since time immemorial, because it’s the day when the scales tip toward the light, when winter is finally and completely over!
Easter traditions then, are rather like family heirlooms, invested with the hopes and dreams of many, many generations – a part of what psychology pioneer Carl Jung called the Collective Unconscious, a shared wisdom base that is built from the experiences of our first, most ancient ancestors and added to by every experience of every human since then. Imagine the power the Collective Unconscious has invested in these symbols of spring over their 2,500-plus year history! If you want to boost your own renewal process, or begin a new phase of your life, then using some of these traditional symbols, with an awareness of their meaning, could give your spring altar, meditations or visualizations quite a boost.
Eggs, baskets and possibility
There is no more powerful symbol of new life and possibility than the egg, and many believe that humans were inspired to make baskets by watching birds build their nests. Egg hunts probably were begun by early humans searching for some much-needed fresh protein, and the earliest egg-layer in Europe, the lapwing, tends to hide her eggs skillfully.
Ukrainians, whose decorated eggs are very collectible, use a system of rituals and symbols that some claim evolved with the hunter-gatherers of Eastern Europe, and still create powerful amulets for fertility, prosperity and protection, today.
To make your own amulet, draw or write on your hard boiled egg with a white wax crayon before dipping it, and then use your imagination to create the next steps. Maybe you want better health, and you draw the traditional symbol for hospitals and doctors, the staff wrapped by two serpents. Dip the egg in color and leave it on your altar or a breakfast table display for a day or two as a focus for your intentions. Then, when you eat it, imagine that you’re absorbing the egg’s nourishment as well as the power and possibilities of the symbol.
Hares and bunnies
Many spiritual traditions, including those of the druids, revered the hare, which lives in burrows, as a creature of both the underworld and the daylight world, which resurrected mythical gods such as Tammuz, Osiris and Dionysius inhabited.
Of course, rabbits also represent fertility because they multiply, well, like rabbits. Interestingly, most chocolate bunnies these days are long-eared more like hares than cottontails. Think of ways you could enhance your chocolate Easter rabbit to get your subconscious on board and working to increase the money, ideas, romance, health and possibility in your life. What would you like to have more of in your life? Or resurrect, like sex in your marriage?
Spring feasts, and the types of meats and vegetables served, are also very traditional. Feasting was basically a celebration of the fact that new food was finally available, and winter’s stores could be finished up with gusto. Spring lamb, winter’s preserved meats like ham, the last of the winter vegetables and new spring greens are all traditional reminders that abundance is once again entering our lives.
But the most important thing, which all of these traditions have reminded us for centuries, is that there is always renewal. Always! After the cold and isolation and shortages of winter, spring brings light and fresh food and energy and possibility. Things change, there’s no need to be stuck in a depressing rut, because our world naturally wakes us up every year. So get up and get moving – it’s time!
Manifest the gifts of Spring! Let a psychic guide you in a reading today. Call 1.800.573.4830
or click here