the little man’s chicken in the back garden

The Easter period is over and I am left pondering it.  It could have been our Irish Summer, let’s hope not!  It was a time for us to relax a little and spend time together as a family, and a time for planting and sitting in the garden watching things grow.

I remember Easters past and the things we did as children.  I have memories of rolling boiled eggs down a hill in Tollymore Forest and memories of day trips with mum and dad and sister. I wonder if our little man will also have such memories?  If this year is the basis of them then they will be of sitting in a near stationary car for long periods of time while his mum and dad talk of a mythical place called Carnfunnock, while never actually getting there.

Some other pondering was prompted by a book I picked up by chance: Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight by James Atlee.

It is a book about culture more than science.  In fact, there seems to be little science at all.  This does not detract from it being a beautiful book so far.  A book about the moon has to at some point connect with Easter and this reveals a truth that sits uncomfortably with some; Easter is Pagan.  I will start by saying that apparently there seems to be no mention of Easter in many translations of the bible (a couple translate the word for Passover to Easter at one point) and there seems to be no directive to celebrate Easter in the form we celebrate it today.  Even the word ‘Easter’ comes from the Saxon Goddess ‘Eostre’.  She seems to have been a god of fertility and the life that is born from the earth at this time of year.  Similar goddess’ were also worshiped at the same time of year by other cultures; Aphrodite, Hathor, Ishtar and Ostara are examples that point to deeper roots.  The moveable date and its connection with the moon also point to the older ways.

I am pondering this because I find it interesting; the confusing world we are all brought up in and the strange clash of cultures.  The chocolate eggs, the bunny rabbits, Santa Claus*, Christmas trees* and flying reindeer*.   Sometimes it feels like we are living in a car crash of beliefs.  We seem to not be able to shake off the old ways.  It is hard not to celebrate the new life of spring and it is hard not to gather families together to share in excess in the depths and darkness of winter*.

*I do know these are not about Easter.

The Christian purpose of Easter is not lost on me, and I do feel the need for taking communion.  I feel the need to remember what it means to me personally and the need to take time to do this, but I will also confess that, for me, the actual time of year has no significance.  For me it is needs to be done constantly and at all times of year.

This is of course all a bit deep and I need to say that what interested me the most on this little research meander was the thought that if Easter is named after Eostre, the goddess of fertility, is that why the female hormone that controls fertility was named oestrogen?  I cannot run from the geek in me.