so i guess this would qualify as fan art…
for some little ole book and television series…
Machinery at the old gunpowder works, Ponsanooth, west Cornwall, Mike Crowle
Easter Is Not Pagan.
Easter was not Pagan.
Easter is a Christian Holiday.
Now go eat a peep and stop putting down this religion.
Ok! So I’ve been seeing a lot of BS about Easter today, and I want to step in with a little history and a message about respect ^u^
For clarification; I am in no way trying to oppose christowitch’s opinion. If anything, I am trying to support it and back it up! I’m sorry if my way of writing would make it seem otherwise. So please do not hate on me… especially if you don’t read the full post through.
The first thing I want to point out is the fact that while we know a great deal about ancient practices, we don’t know everything. We know (almost for a fact) that ancient Pagans of many cultures celebrated a fertility holiday in early Spring which would include common (universal?) symbols of fertility. Eggs. Bunnies. Babies of all species. Flowers and the like. We know that in there were deities of fertility who were most likely revered during this time! Ishtar being one of the most prevalent that I have been seeing as the focal point these days. Every year around this time, that same picture pops up all around the internet.
This is Ishtar:
Easter was originally the celebration of
Ishtar, the Assyrian and Babylonian
goddess of fertility and sex. Her symbols
(like the egg and the bunny) were and
still are fertility and sex symbols (or did
you actually think eggs and bunnies had
anything to do with the resurrection?).
After Constantine decided to Christianize
the Empire, Easter was changed to
represent Jesus. But at its roots, Easter
(which is how you pronounce Ishtar) is
all about celebrating fertility and sex.
I see this post all over the internet! It’s on tumblr. My friends (who usually post uneducated information anyway) share it on facebook. It’s all over places like google+ and instagram… it plagues the entire internet! But let’s look at it for a moment.
First of all, many Pagans are mad at Christianity for monopolizing words like God, prayer and even clergy. But that doesn’t make it right for us to monopolize holiday names, holiday practices or symbolism. We all share these things! Many Pagans borrow countless ideas from other cultures and claim it’s ok even when those cultures are angered by it. Are we any better? The fact of the matter is, the world is not so limited! Just because someone has a different use of the same thing you have doesn’t mean they are trying to defile your beliefs. They admire what you have and want to adopt and adapt it for themselves.
Now let’s talk about the Christian overtaking of Europe and essentially the world and how this all relates.
Yes, through much of history and still in many places today, Christians (not the religion as a whole, but individual Christians acting on their own or in groups) take over and try to phase out other belief systems. In many cases in the past, this came at the expense of lives! Many people converted to survive, and some people converted because they truly found something special in the religion. With this shift, newly converted Pagans (of various traditions) found ways to keep their old beliefs but modify them to meet the new ways. In some cases, seemingly dead practices were revitalized to live on in the new religion. And then over time, these beliefs continued to change and evolve to better meet the times and ways.
In the modern day, yes — many Christian holidays are based on ancient practices. Most Christians deny this fact, but that is irrelevant! Whether they recognize where the practices come from or not: 1) The practices do in fact have those roots, but 2) The adopted and adapted practices (holidays, symbols, tools etc) are theirs in their new forms and that needs to be respected!
Just because the roots are Pagan does not invalidate the Christian usage. If a Christian understands eggs and bunnies to represent the resurrection, then let them do so! When you think about it, all life starts as an egg. That is where the idea comes from to begin with! And many traditions believe in reincarnation either as a common thing or something left to very special souls. So an egg can easily represent the resurrection. Let them have their belief and don’t trample it!
I would also like to point out again that most modern “Pagans” are not from Pagan families. They convert or adopt their Pagan path from books and teachings outside of their families. In the few cases where modern Pagans come from Pagan families, that Pagan line most often started the same way; through modern teachings of ancient ways, converting and then raising a few generations of that Pagan way. That is not to say that centuries old Pagan families don’t exist. They certainly do, but for the most part, we are BORROWED Pagans. We have taken from others, and we have adopted and adapted what we wanted to meet our own needs — JUST as ancient Christians did. Luckily for us, on the other hand, it is of our own free will and not because we were forced to. Keep that in mind. Many modern Christian holidays came from the necessity for change. Centuries of passed down traditions have led to new beliefs. Respect those beliefs, because they are just as real as your own!
I know this post has been rather rambly and repetitious, but I hope the point got across. Every holiday is special and sacred to the people who practice it. Stop trying to stomp on everyone else’s beliefs. Let Easter be to the Christians an honor to Jesus and the resurrection. Let it be to Pagans about fertility or whatever they see fit. Let it be to Atheists a fun day to paint eggs, eat candy and be with their families.
After hundreds… thousands of years… isn’t that all we ever want? To get along with our families, celebrate spring and just have a good time? Let others have their culture, and keep your own culture alive for yourself.
I hope you all have a safe and happy Spring and Holiday. Keep well, and please remember to respect people, even if you disagree.
Curious Fact of the Week: A Garden That Can Kill You
As the black signs studded with skull and bones warn you at the entrance: “These Plants Can Kill.” With over 100 varieties of deadly plants, the Alnwick Poison Gardens that flourish alongside Alnwick Castle in England are an impressive demonstration of fatal botanicals, from deadly nightshade to hemlock to strychnine.
The garden is the creation of the Duchess of Northumberland. As she explained:
"I wondered why so many gardens around the world focused on the healing power of plants rather than their ability to kill… I felt that most children I knew would be more interested in hearing how a plant killed, how long it would take you to die if you ate it and how gruesome and painful the death might be."
More on the Deadly Alnwick Poison Gardens, on Atlas Obscura!