The Writes Of Spring, by Dennis O’Neil
As I sit down to write this, I’m less than five hours from midnight on March 23rd and so it might be appropriate to wish you a Happy Easter, or Happy Pasha if you’re an Oriental Christian, or Happy Purim. Or maybe I should give a shout-out to Aphrodite, Ashtoreth, Astarté, Demeter, Hathor, Ishtar, Kali, Ostara – all deities who were celebrated around the spring equinox and, as far as my extremely limited and unreliable knowledge goes, all of whom were connected to fertility, which figures: Spring equinox = end of winter = new life = let’s have a party.
Or…let’s let one stand for all and just celebrate the goddess whose name gives the holiday it’s name: No less an authority than The Venerable Bede, an early Christian scholar, wrote that Easter was named after the Saxon goddess Eostre, and if you can’t trust the Venerable Bede, well…
I like Easter, and tomorrow I may do something celebratory, even if it’s only to walk in the park down the road. (Yeah, us old guys really know how to tear it loose.) It’s a real holiday, as evidenced by all the ways it’s been celebrated over the millennia – see the goddess list above – and I think that means that it acknowledges and celebrates something deep in our collective culture, our life on this planet, probably our genomes. The catalogue of such holidays is short: there’s the various festivals of light that occur around the winter solstice – Merry Christmas, all – and around the fall equinox that generally involve harvests and eating, and Easter, et. al. All happen at seasonal changes and all involve the Basics: birth, death, light, dark, and survival.
You don’t have to believe in the literal truth of a mythology to accept the realities that underlie it.