Posted by: Sabrina | April 14, 2009

Easter Wars

As I am approaching the first anniversary of stepping onto the Pagan spiritual path, I made a decision several weeks ago (after my Happy Ostara! post) to take a short hiatus from blogging in order to spend substantial time reviewing and reflecting on my spiritual growth over the past year and coming to some decisions about what the best next steps will be for me as I begin my second year of dedication to the Goddess.  I continue to review and plan, (and with a few days off as my school observes the traditionally Catholic practice of spring break following the Christian Easter Sunday, I have more time to sleep, too :-))  but my curiosity got the better of me today, and I looked at my stats to find that a relative stampede of viewers have made their way to Pagan Dawn in the past few days.

 

I always find there is a small up-tick in views when I post something new (thank you to the three of you out there who are such faithful readers ;-) ), but I hadn’t posted since late March, so my curiosity only increased at the Grand Teton-esque line graph indicating something like 40 or 50 viewers had dropped by over the weekend!  Had I the insightfulness, wit, and gift of language of other Pagan bloggers I read regularly (The Green Witch and Anne Johnson of The Gods are Bored come quickly to mind), I might be tempted to think that the increase in my viewership is due to blog surfers not being able to get enough of my writing, but my style is usually more tortured prose than scintillating poetry.  So . . . what could it be? 

 

Well . . . I’m not totally sure, but I think it might have something to do with Easter wars.  As you’ll recall if you read my late March post, “Happy Ostara,” I celebrated the arrival of spring at the time of the vernal equinox, and although I still have a lot to learn about Paganism, I understand that most other Pagans/Witches/Wicca celebrate it then, too.  Surprisingly to me, though, as I was catching up on my blog reading, I found a large-ish number of posts by indignant Pagan bloggers addressing the supposed co-opting of Pagan vernal traditions (painted eggs being the real biggie) by Christians who have supposedly morphed them into something associated with the resurrection story.  Another small-but-statistically-significant group of Pagan writers (possibly in an attempt to keep the peace with Christian soldiers??) wrote that really, the origins of celebrations abounding at this time of year are really all too old for any of us to know the absolute truth of, and yes, possibly the Pagan fertility lore and traditions are no older than Christian resurrection celebrations. 

 

I’m surprised by all of this, not so much because of the content—it’s pretty typical that minority groups of any type will have some members that are militant and others that prefer to appease—but because of the timing of these posts—most were published on the Christian Easter weekend of April 11 and 12.  Wasn’t Easter (Oestara) several weeks ago for us Pagans?  I don’t know about you, but I’m already beginning to look forward to Beltane! 

 

But content-wise, I guess I’m a little disappointed, too.  When I stepped away from Christianity and toward Paganism, I saw myself as moving toward a culture that accepts and shares with others.  The more we fight for “ownership” of any seasonal celebration, the more likely it is that we will lose any joy and deep meaning it has held for us.  If any of the readers stampeding over to Pagan Dawn last weekend were looking for a Pagan blogger with a bad-ass attitude about Oestara/Easter, I don’t think they found it here.  So I’m probably back to a readership of three now that they’ve seen this site is just one middle-aged woman’s musings about her quite ordinary Pagan life. . .

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Responses

  1. Thanks for posting this.
    I’m a young pagan, having been a part of the Pagan path only 5 years (well.. 4 years 10 months, but never mind that). I was brought up Christian. I attended a Catholic school for 5 years and a Protestant youth group for three.
    I remember discovering the background of the traditions and why and how other relgiions have “taken” Pagan customs. I openly explained these to any who asked, but never jumped out at Mass and spoke of it to anyone I thought would be threatened by it.
    I did revel in telling those who asked, but I feel I’ve grown up a bit now. I guess my focus now is worrying about what I’m doing. How I’m feeling. What beltain/Eostre/Yule mean to ME. Who cares if the customs are 50 years old, 2000 years old or even older. They help em to connect wiht nature, with my perceptioin of the divine; and that’s what (in my opinion) Paganism is more about. Connecting. Nature. The Divine. Living the faith instead of saying one thing but doing another. I guess thsoe are the key features for me.

    I’ve gone off on a total rant and don’t remember my original point but, perhaps they, like me, will remember the spirit is to be accepting and respectful fo others.

    Stars Above,
    ~Celestial Rose.

  2. Celestial Rose-
    Yes, it definitely is all about connecting and being accepting and respectful of others. I’m really fortunate to live in a part of the world where this is the rule and not the exception, so I may take it for granted. Maybe those who wrote the “ownership” posts I referred to are in much closer and more frequent contact with intolerant types. I know that if that were the case for me, I might feel more inclined to vent about the “truth” as I see it.

    Thank you so much for leaving me your comments on this post!
    -Sabrina

  3. I often feel that someone on any kind of spiritual path would take joy in the fact that another person has found joy in their chosen spiritual path, whatever path that may be. Surely it’s about celebrating the experiences of others as opposed to criticising others? Problems only arise when people try to force their views on others in some desperate bid to change them, rather than take pleasure in the revelation they have received.

    • Andy-
      You’ve expressed so well what I was trying to say. In all fairness, I do have to say that not all the blogs I read the day I posted “Easter Wars” were so negative (but a significant portion of them were). After posting “Easter Wars,” I did go back through portions of the books Paganism and Pagan Spirituality by Joyce and River Higginbotham and was reminded that how we react to the spiritual beliefs and practices of others is determined by at least in part by our own place on the spiritual development spectrum (actually, the Higginbothams use Beck and Cowan’s “Spiral Dynamics” model which makes a lot of sense to me), so it may seem futile to me to engage someone who is at a “spiritual ownership” place on the continuum as my objections are likely to fall on deaf ears. On the other hand, I have become more willing to at least spend some time in discourse with them in the belief that I may plant a seed of different understanding in their minds (just as I hope others do for me when they comment on my posts).

      Thanks so much for your comment–it’s good to see you back in the blogosphere!
      -Sabrina

  4. Dear Sabrina,

    I understand your point of view. I am on my third or is it fourth year of pagan spirituality, and I also come from a Catholic background. One of the attractions was the freedom to be what one wants to be without someone carping and forcing their own opinions on one, so it is a bit annoying to find that some people drop on you like a ton of bricks when you stray from their personal view point!

    What I want to say is, you just go one doing what you are doing and follow your own path. That is what it is all about, following your own path. I follow a Druidic path myself and did look into other paths, Wicca amongst others, but I dip into other spiritualities as and how the spirit moves me!
    (what spirit is of course another thing!, though mine is likely to be a baileys!)

    Joking aside, I do find a lot of comfort in my pagan spirituality and would not dream of raining on someone else’s parade!

    So, don’t let anyone dim your enthusiasm

    Peace and Blessings

    /l\ Yvonne

    • Hi Yvonne-
      Thanks so much for your comment. In my first year as a practicing Pagan, I guess I have tended to see this spiritual path and its adherents through rose-colored glasses. But in looking at the Easter “ownership” posts I viewed, I have gotten a good dose of realism in seeing Pagan posts that seem quite as authoritarian and dismissive of Christian spiritual life as some Christians are of Pagan spirituality. *sigh* I agree with you that it’s not really about winning or losing but in how one plays the game, and I do appreciate your words of encouragement!
      Blessings,
      Sabrina

  5. Dear Sabrina,

    I suppose it is because we expect the people who share our new found faith, for want of a better a word, to somehow be better than our former co-religionists, because they have found the light….In reality they are still the same people, who despite finding a new spirituality are having to deal with the effects of being human. We don’t change overnight and we all have our battles with ourselves, in effect just like being a Christian, Pagans find that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak…only we don’t have the guilt trip with it (:-)

    Hope this helps!

    /l\ Peace and Blessings

    Yvonne

    • Yvonne–
      Yes, you’ve hit the nail right on the head. I appreciate your insights and look forward to hearing from you in the future!
      -Sabrina


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