Saturday, April 9, 2011
It's truly Springtime because The Dollar Tree, Michael's and Toys R Us have turned themselves inside out offering 'Everything Easter': plastic eggs, bags of generic jelly beans,headbands with bunny ears,egg coloring kits,cellophane grass, candy bunnies, chicks and crosses of dubious ingredients, and Easter baskets painted with clashing bands of color made in China. Ah....Spring! The little envelopes of vegetable and flower seeds are selling 4 for a $1.. and contain.mostly things that grow on vines that will take over the yard like Kudzu...speaking of which, they also offer an array of things to kill Kudzu and other invasive weeds...vile, toxic mixtures in cans and bottles that have little cartoons of weeds in death throes on the label, or some ad exec's idea of a weedless lawn in middle-America. There are things that twirl, spin and chime to entertain us and scare the birds and squirrels away. Buckets of yellow wax with huge wicks in the center rumored to be scented with Citronella.
Citronella is such an elusive fragrance to me; Is it supposed to smell like citron, or something else? It always makes my eyes water. And it's marked explicitly that it should not be used in confined spaces with little ventilation, yet most of the packaging used for items containing it are made to sample-smell...and it's there right next to the rest of the jar candles we love to sniff at Yankee Candle.No one has said why it shouldn't be used indoors. (I know, but it's a secret..until now:http://www.epa.gov/opp00001/biopesticides/ingredients/factsheets/factsheet_021901.htm).
And then... there's the main attraction of Easter...No, not Him.....*HIM*, the soft furry Lepus variety, not the dying god type. East R Bunny. Or Billy Bunny. Or Baby Bunny...whatever the people who brand things are calling the currently popular bunny item this year. Easter Bunnies come in an astounding variety of forms. The chocolate ones carry golf clubs, fly airplanes or drive for NASCAR. You rarely see one painting eggs, and you never see them laying an Easter egg. Last year I saw one in a Star Fleet uniform, which I guess is okay now that Captain Kirk is working for Priceline and hosting his own talk show ( Let's not forget that William Shatner also played the indomitable Denny Crane, patriarch of Boston Legal. I love him, and I love James Spader, who is hip, smart and still a hottie...I digress.)
Oh,yeah....we were talking about signs of Spring. Another sign of Spring is that the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses are out in full bloom, attempting to spread their version of goodwill and eternal salvation door to door. They pollinate the neighborhood with pulp religious tracts, hoping that some curious soul will call and inquire about their beliefs. Do you know anyone who has actually ever done this? Me neither.
Egg hunts are popular in this area; most of the large churches and many of the local parks have them. They normally consist of dozens of two part plastic eggs that contain a treat. When I was a kid they were real eggs! We still got the candy-and occasionally a coin or two- but I was thrilled with the boiled eggs, and I would trade my candy for as many as I could get because I took them home to my grandmother who made deviled eggs out of them to go with Easter Dinner (I was marching to a different drummer, even then.) Hey, hunting Easter eggs dressed in layers of stiff pastel organza and prickly crinoline that stuck to your white tights was tough... not getting grass stains on the white tights was a major accomplishment in itself. As was getting into the white tights themselves.
My Pagan life experience of Spring is much different than the Easter of my childhood. I'm more aware of the gradual awakening of the Earth because I'm more attuned to the seasons. I'm looking for signs of Spring-I notice the shift in the air and the way it smells, I see how the clouds change with the temperature. Spring is more pronounced in the South than the Mid-Atlantic states. There is a period when trees and growing things bud before blooming, you can see the gestation of the plants. The soil warms and a wet, musky fragrance waifs up from it if you crumble a bit in your hand. My circle blesses packages of seeds, ties pretty ribbons around them and gives them away. At our last Ostara event we blessed a huge pot of soil and everyone took turns burying their hands in it, wiggling their fingers deep under the surface and allowing it to stain their fingernails. We sang Dave Mallet's Garden Song... and passed my stuffed white bunny Harvey from person to person down a giggling, rawkus conga line as we sang The Bunny Hop. Everyone got a raw egg to take home: you could use it to feed yourself, or put it out for the wild animals, or bury it in your yard among the plants. The idea was that it was a symbol of fertility and nourishment, and you were creating renewal by using it as a tool of transformation. We gave out seedlings planted in colored egg shell 'cups' which you could pop in the ground as a unit-plant, soil and fertilizer all in one, and handmade candle 'eggs'-cleaned out egg shell halves with a wick surrounded by white and yellow wax yolks made from recycled candle stubs ( very pretty when made out of brown egg shells, you can tea-dye them if you don't have natural brown shells).
Ah...Spring... the time of new beginnings. My Pagan lent has ended, and I am enjoying being renewed as a part of the seasonal awakening.
And now, a view from the other side...a very good article, written by a devoted Christian man discerning Easter traditions for himself. He gives everyone else their due. I think it's charming.
Posted by Ameth Jera at 12:29 AM