Easter started as an adaptation of a pagan celebration. Many of the rituals we use in celebrating it are pagan. Thus, saying “Hey man, I’m pagan . . .” doesn’t get you off the hook. Look up the word in a dictionary sometime, if your mom has one. Eat some ham, Poindexter.
Anyway. . .
The reason we celebrate Easter predates Christianity. It really predates anything in the Old Testament, or even in civilization as well. In most of the Northern Hemisphere this is a splendid time of the Earth’s journey around the sun, wherein all of nature shows itself in its glory, and we all feel like we really belong here on this planet after a six months of having it try to kill us. We finally feel that we belong. The Earth likes us. It really likes us.
Let’s put on fancy-dress and eat some ham.
But before we do, let’s think about that a little bit.
Human feelings of alienation are nothing new. They basically define us as a species. Twenty thousand years ago as our hunter-gatherer forebears were running across the veldt chasing wildebeests or something, feeling near-starvation and damning the inefficiency of their spears, they would pause occasionally to think “Damn, we really suck at this. Why are we doing this? Why are we here?” We humans make half-assed animals. We really do.
It wasn’t a new thought when early ecologists and freethinkers noticed that man has a special place in the natural realm as sort of an all-purpose despoiler, who seemed to serve no natural need. It doesn’t stop us from defiling almost everything we touch. We soil our own nest constantly.
We are conceived accidentally (in most cases). We ponder the meaning of things. We fail at most things. We soon find out we’re going to die. We stumble around feeling like beaten-down assholes for seventy years or so. Then it’s over.
But that can’t be all that it’s about. Because that would be a downer. As a writer of fiction I know it’s imperative not to just let things be downers. Not everything, at least.
So Easter is a good time to reflect on what brought us here, why we are here, and what it all means. It’s always been a good time to do that, even before the time of Christ. This has naturally been a good time of the year to celebrate and to reflect and to feel.
But back in the day, the more people thought about it, the more they realized that our human existence really has only one explanation: Love.
Love is the underlying motive force of the universe. It drives the unfolding of time. It’s the reason all this exists and the reason we are here to witness it, and to tend to it. It’s the irrational outpouring of abundant being that has no logical explanation.
The reason behind life isn’t a reason at all, and that’s why you can’t use reason to grasp it. Instead, you must feel. You must love.
So about 2000 or so years ago, a heretical Jew was nailed to a piece of wood and tortured to death for pointing out certain inconvenient things about the prevailing paradigm and calling various “upstanding” people into account. And most of what he said got down to this: If you’re not loving and being loved, you’re doing it wrong.
This is the day celebrating his return, proving to believers that shit really doesn’t matter. Let the shit flow over you. Let the assholes have their fun with their wood and nails. Just love and be loved, and you’ll win out in the end.