I've been thinking a lot this week about the Easter holiday, my beliefs & values, and ways to create celebration outside of the Christian holiday. (and the Hallmark holiday, for that matter.) Celebration and creating ritual in our lives is important to me.
So, what do I do when a big holiday like Easter comes along? Before kids, it really wasn't that big of a deal. But, I realize this year, as S.Rube is getting older that I need to have a clearer idea of what my own beliefs are, as I'm passing them down to her and T.Rube. Admittedly, I felt a bit hypocritical this week as we worked on our Easter egg crafts each day, preparing something for a holiday that I don't even believe in....
A friend asked me yesterday if I celebrate Equinox holidays. And I'm thinking that this isn't a bad idea. Celebrating spring equinox, which ironically was yesterday, fits nicely on the farm. Cuz that's what I kept coming back to all week when I thought about Easter - was how evident Spring is on the farm. Things are turning green again, as the buds start to develop. The daffodils are up and beautiful. The lambs are jumping and spinning in the fields, the frogs have been born in the pond, where the ducks have also returned, and the rabbit has her nest full of little kits. The birds are not eating from the feeder like they were all winter and the starlings are stuck in the woodstove chimneys.
It is like being slapped in the face with Spring, it's so evident.
Making sheep and bees and flowers out of eggs just fits.
So, what better thing to celebrate than the changing of the seasons; of the arrival of Spring? And the equinox is all about the balancing of time, and its foundation rests in astrology...something I hold dear to my heart. I went looking for ways in which we could develop rituals on our farm in order to celebrate the Spring.
I found some interesting historical facts as I went about researching my new holiday:
Ostara (also Oestre or Eostre) was considered the goddess of fertility and signified new
beginnings, growth and rebirth. During spring festivities, she was often pictured holding an egg in one hand while rabbits — a common symbol of fertility (hmmm. yeah, we've talked about this....) — played at her feet. No surprise then that Easter celebrations include eggs, rabbits and flowers.
In fact, all of our egg rituals come from the celebration of Equinox, including the egg decorating that I've done all week and the egg hunt we'll have on Sunday.
Around the world, people joyfully celebrate Equinox by getting close to nature, by planting seeds, by paying attention to the rebirth of the season, and the start of something new, by cleaning and painting their homes and opening up the windows wide, by lighting small fires and jumping over them to cleanse their bodies of any evil, by visiting the gravesites of fallen family to pay their respects, or by ringing a bell to signify peace.
We can do this. Hell, even better... I ALREADY do this!! (well, most of it) (okay, it's been a while since I've jumped over a fire. but we can. we will.) ( and, granted, the only bell I ring is the cowbell at the door to call B.Rube in for dinner.)
But, more than just doing it, I have to name it; define it; talk about it. Ritualize it. That's when it becomes of importance and becomes a thing of value to me. and my children. That's when it starts to make a difference. ....when the spring cleaning, looking at the flowers, noticing the frogs, planting the seeds, and bottle feeding the lambs become all about appreciation, and awe, and celebration.
That's what makes the difference. You gotta talk about it while you're doing it. Point out the beauty of the mountains to your kids when you notice them, rather than just keeping it to yourself. (What??? You don't notice the mountains?? Fuck, you're going to be a tough nut to crack! Pay attention out there. Open your eyes. Take it in. Remember that consciousness shit I talked about a couple of nights ago? Do it. And start talking about it. Tell them why we're here to celebrate. And that there's a kazillion reasons to live.)
It doesn't matter if don't believe in the Christian story or if you just don't practise it, you can still create a powerful lesson for your kids.
(What DO I believe?
I believe in good. and I believe in karma and synchronicity. I believe in astrology and our connection to the universe and the stars. I believe we have a soul. I don't believe our soul goes to heaven. I believe in reincarnation. I believe in magic and love. and I believe in the powers within us. I believe that we are our own god and that we hold extreme abilities to accomplish and achieve, particularly in the collective sense. I believe that all things happen for a reason. I believe in positive thinking and creative visualization. I believe in destiny.
There's LOTS of reasons to live in my world. )