Celebrating Oestera in 2015

Easter Blessings
April 5 2015 Easter Sunday

The smell of apple cider vinegar comes back to me
As I think back to childhood Easters.
The too pale eggs, no matter how long I dipped them in the dye,
The crinkly feel of glassy green strands of cellophane nestled in a brightly colored basket,
The hope on Easter morning that a magic rabbit had added something chocolate to the eggs and candy we already knew about.
I feel again the strange excitement about wearing a new coat and shoes and hat –
Because they were new, because they fed our dream of spring arriving finally –
Invoking season’s progress, nature’s resurrection.
We dressed for Easter every year,
Though we’d shiver in New England’s March and April chill.
What did all this have to do with Christian Easter, the disappearance of a sacred corpse
That Gospel grief of friends who’d lost their king and savior days before?
Not much.
Rather Oestera, goddess of the spring ,
Was celebrated yet again on her forever feast, by us who had never heard of her.
In ironic justice, we who thought we had moved beyond her pagan rituals
Repeated them, all unawares,
Acknowledging the seasons’ guiding role for life on Earth.

REFLECTION:
The childhood Easters I’m referring to occurred in the 40s and early 50s in Rhode Island and Southestern Massachusetts, in a staunchly Irish- Catholic family. I find it interesting now, as an Interfaith minister who is familiar with the traditions of many religious traditions, ancient and modern, that although we had no idea, back then, of the Celtic goddess of spring, Oestera, for whom Easter is named, every year we followed faithfully the rites of her ancient feast. It makes me wonder what others facets of our daily life spring from ancient customs similarly transmitted faithfully from generation to generation for millennia . To what extent do we now, today, amidst our technology and manufacturing, continue to live as did our distant forebears?

About Rev. Rosemary Hyde, Ph.D.

I am a grandmother, a classical homeopath, a mystical poet, and an interfaith minister. I also have a large, enduring place in my heart for Paris. I first spent time in Paris in 1961, as a Fulbright scholar. I remained in France for three years, living also in Toulouse and in Nancy. I have revisited France and Paris multiple times since then, and have come to know central Paris reasonably well. I grew up in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, where there were many Franco-Americans, and their language fascinated me. I was fortunate in 6th grade, when my family moved, to find myself in a Catholic French speaking girls' school, where I had the wonderful fortune of becoming bilingual. It still feeds my soul deeply, to visit Paris, speak French, and reconnect with the little French girl in me. I am serving presently as co-minister at Unity Center of Peace in Chapel Hill, NC. I give talks one or two Sundays a month -- please go to the website, www.unitychapelhill.org, and sign up for the weekly e-news to learn what's going on -- special events, seasonal interfaith ceremonies, and Sunday themes and talks. My vision for the Unity Chapel Hill ministry and for myself is to become a loving, uniting presence in the lives of all those who cross paths with us. That's all there is, really -- loving presence. And so it is. Amen. My goal as a minister is to add richness to life for those who resonate to more than one religious tradition or to none -- those with mixed religions as well as the unchurched, untempled, and unmosqued. All of us, whatever our cultural allegiances, hunger for and need support in finding the transcendent joy that's ours to find in this earthly life. All of us need and want to celebrate beautifully the great and small milemarker moments. All of us crave the beauty of prayer as an expression of our participation in universal love. All of us wish to learn a greater vision, to see our lives opening to the Divine. All of us desire deeply to find serenity and peace that lasts no matter what happens today and tomorrow. This is the meaning of Transcendessence. We find the essence of spirit and transcend the narrow constraints of our bodies and egos. Join us today by subscribing, so you won't miss a single poem, message, prayer, or meditation.
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One Response to Celebrating Oestera in 2015

  1. anndupree says:

    I wonder about that, too, Rosemary. I sense that there are many of our rituals that have ancient roots, and that is of comfort. Thanks for your reflection.

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