|Crossing over in lunisolar calendar|
This lunisolar calculation is similar to Jewish Passover or Pesach, which occurs around the same time as Easter and marks the beginning of the harvest season in Israel, as well as celebrating the Jews' release from
bondage into a new life (mirroring the theme of rebirth in Christian Easter). The seven foods that were sacred to the Jews (of which Jesus was one) symbolized the seasons of a year's farming, the Jewish connection to the "good land," and a hoped-for abundant harvest--pomegranates, dates, olives, figs, grapes, and wheat (linked with Passover). Jesus' selection of wheat and grapes (wine) at the last Passover meal to represent an abundant "new life," hence, is symbolically profound both theologically and in terms of the land, the soil.
|The Worm Moon|
"Easter," for instance, according to the English monk and Christian writer Bede, was named after "Eostre" or "Ostara," the Saxon dawn-goddess of fertility and new life. Eostre had many goddess-analogues in other cultures, including Aphrodite, Astarte, Ishtar, Hathor, Kali, and Demeter (mother of Persephone; we talked about Persephone's symbolism in farming in an earlier post [click here]).
What links these goddesses with both Easter and farming is their association with earth's fertility, fostered through cycles of death/darkness/dirt and life/light/air, both seasonally and liturgically. Kali, for instance, in Hindu culture, was described as "the ground," meaning "the mysterious source of life," "ultimate reality," and "the very soil, all-creating and all-consuming." As farmers and gardeners, we need to revere "the ground"--that is, the soil, the humus, which is the earthly source of life and growth--and we need to understand both its productive and destructive cycles, that life springs from death, which of course is also the idea behind the Easter liturgy.
In their role as progenitors of fertility, these goddesses sometimes were
|The hare's decorated egg-gift|