Holi Week


Today is not the spring equinox – it is the first new moon after, and an important celebration around the world. For Christians, it usually marks Easter. For Hindu’s (who are more attentive to the calendar) it marks Holi (although technically, in India it was yesterday). For Ancient pagans it marks the end of Eoster when the moon has been fully resurrected.

Many, perhaps most, Pagan religions in the ancient Mediterranean region had a major seasonal day of religious celebration at, or following, the spring equinox. In one religion, Cybele, the Phrygian fertility goddess, had a consort who was believed to have been born via a virgin birth. He was Attis, who was said to have died and been resurrected each year during the period MAR-22 to MAR-25; i.e. at the time of the vernal equinox in the Julian calendar.

vernal-equinox-spring-2011_33398_600x450

Wherever Christian worship of Jesus and Pagan worship of Attis were active in the same geographical area in ancient times, Christians “used to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus on the same date; and pagans and Christians used to quarrel bitterly about which of their gods was the true prototype and which the imitation.” Since the worship of Cybele was brought to Rome in 204 BCE, about 250 years before Christianity, it is obvious that if any copying occurred, it was the Christians that copied the traditions of the Pagans. – http://www.religioustolerance.org

Aside from traditional celebrations we also have many ways to measure time (which is an important aspect of any religion) with ritualistic and historic monuments, including temples, sundials, and other archaeological sites.

Oracle slab

“America’s Stonehenge” is a 4,000 year old megalithic  site located on Mystery Hill in Salem NH. Carbon dating has estimated the age of some charcoal remnants at 3,000 and 4,000 years ago. Researchers have concluded that the site was erected either by Native Americans or an unknown migrant European population. The site contains five standing stones and one fallen stone in a linear alignment which point to both the sunrise and sunset at the spring and fall equinoxes. http://www.religioustolerance.org

Any time we move away from the metaphorical symbolism surrounding life events, we risk getting bogged down in semantics. These images below are what Joseph Campbell would say is interpreting the myth in term of prose in stead of in terms of poetry.

EasterPaganChristian

Now, let’s be clear. Neither of these are literal/factual or allegoric/metaphoric interpretations; they are value interpretations. If they were factual, they would give you the exact, scientific evidence, such as the calendar cycle or the  archaeological artifacts associated with Jesus’ death and their scientific methodology, such as carbon dating. If they were metaphorical, they would lead you to a transcendent understanding of these images as they refer to the mystery of life or your own being. They do neither, they simply prescribe values to symbols.

If you want to celebrate this collection of social knowledge – that’s what astronomy and cosmology is – the don’t worry about being happy and fun or being appropriately dark and sorrowful.

Go have sex. Go out and renew something. It doesn’t matter if you have straight sex, married sex, missionary sex or gay sex. It is the act of union that is the metaphor, the representation of the macrocosm in the microcosm. It doesn’t matter if you renew a relationship, your yard, or your commitment to a diet. It is the act of cyclical renewal that is the metaphor, the union of cycles in the macrocosm in the microcosm.

Eating is, of course, the ultimate symbol of death and resurrection  Here’s a recipe to literally and metaphorically sink your teeth into – a recipe for Holi. If you were paying attention, you will see the myth in it:

SPICY NUTS

22holi-recipe1

This recipe works best with peanuts, cashew nuts, pine nuts or almonds.

Salt
Ghee
Red chili powder
Lime juice
Chat masala

Method

Dry roasts the nuts separately.

In a small pan heat some ghee and add the nuts

Spice it with chilly powder, salt and chat masala and lime juice just before serving.

 

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