Happy Hybrid Easter!

Hybrid: a result of cross-breeding. Easter: a Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Christ — celebrated the Sunday following the first full moon of the vernal equinox.

Wait a minute. Easter is famously Christian, but its timing is completely earth-centered, ruled by nature, which is to say it is pagan. Easter is a hybrid holiday. Christianity has been shown by scholars to have deep roots in the earlier earth-centered religions, described well by Viola and Barna in their book Pagan Christianity.

I find Easter joyful. I also find working the earth joyful. The hybrid thing is in me, body and soul. I have a both/and life of going to church and also being earth-centered. The first art-show I ever did, back in 1993, was actually called Pagan Christianity (long before the above book was written).

Every year in church I sing the centuries-old hymns like “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” and feel a deep, swimming flood of connection to all things and all people. I don’t worry about details of dogma or theology. There is so much we share in common. We all have our struggles, our dark nights, our joys and little victories. We all eat food that comes from the earth; we’re all dead without that. We all seek hope.

Jesus being resurrected after his crucifixion, his conquering of death, carries the same archetypal principle as the life-giving spring (the vernal equinox) emerging victorious from the bitter, death-dealing winter. This is not just a Christian principle, but a life principle.

Hybrid cars, very popular these days, are powered by a cross between electric batteries and a combustion engine. Like many agricultural cross-breedings, a hybrid car uses scarce resources more efficiently, more wisely than either of its parents. Maybe Easter, hybrid that it is of pagan and Christian truths, has equally good things to offer us.

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