Easter and The SatanistPosted: March 28, 2013
I have been debating with myself whether to mention anything about the fact that we are approaching the holiest time of year for Christians; Easter. In many ways I feel that Satanists obsess far too much about Christianity and in doing so we paint ourselves into a box; a box that suits Christian apologists better than it suits us.
Around the world millions of people will be getting ready to mark the period between what they call Good Friday and Easter Sunday with special devotions and celebrations. A lot of these people will be good, well meaning people whose Christian affiliation gives them meaning and direction. I have nothing against such people. Some of them will pray to Jesus or to Mary and to be honest, although I don’t think those characters really existed, I have nothing much against them either. I always rather liked the nativity story and as I grew older and more widely read I realised it is a myth that is probably derived from more ancient traditions. Many elements of the Easter story probably have similar pagan origins. I was always fascinated by the person of Mary Magdalene and the alternative depictions of her and other biblical characters in the gnostic gospels. I find it rather sad that there may be truths latent in some Christian writings that could be quite enlightening.
And yet in ritual I have myself enacted dramas and used implements and imagery which both mock and challenge Christianity…
My gripe with Christianity is with the remote and yet all powerful institution of the Church itself, corrupt, vicious and often depraved. The thought police of George Orwell’s 1984 were like alter-boys in comparison to the way the Bishops have successfully sought to control people’s thoughts, beliefs and attitudes for 2000 years. Those whose integrity and intelligence lead them to question church doctrines or methods, were branded as heretics and often put to death in ways that would make the directors of modern slasher films grimace. During the Crusades the Church literally went to bloody war with non believers butchering all those who would not convert and many who did. When the church discovered the new world of South America they brutally decimated local cultures as well as spreading disease. And for those of us who practice magic (or any woman who annoyed the church by her knowledge or mere presence) there have been repeated episodes of witch massacres. If all that were not enough, in more recent times (and probably historically too) the church has hidden and defended the paedophiles within it’s ranks and exposed young boys and girls to horrific exploitation.
So I make no apology for standing up against the tyranny of the Christian Church, for identifying with and worshipping their arch enemy whose only crime was offering humanity freedom. Whether seen as a living entity, or as a symbol or even as an aspect of our own aspiration, I am fully on Satan’s side. But I don’t think we should limit our religion, our philosophy to being just something that opposes the evils of the Christian authorities. Nor should we allow ourselves to be described in the language that suits the Christian authorities. We are not depraved people who desire and worship evil; we are intelligent people who desire autonomy of thought and liberation from false gods and authorities.
There will be some good and intelligent Christian people marking Easter this weekend. I wish them well. I also hope and pray that if and when they begin to question things within their religious structure they will have the courage to go where their convictions take them.
Before I became a Satanist I was very much a pagan and in many ways I hope and feel I still am. So for me Easter is really Oestara. Oestara or the Spring Equinox is a fertility festival which symbolises the renewal of fertility on the earth and in our spiritual lives.There are many possible roots of Oestara in different pantheons and parts of the world but it is certainly the Pagan festival that the Christian Easter replaced or is derived from. Oestara gives us the name oestrus and oestragen, the female reproductive hormone. It is a time when we seek balance in our lives and accept ourselves for who we are, not just the good points and traits but also those we see as bad points and traits. I find these ideas grounded in the blood of our bodies and the soil of the Earth still resonate very strongly with me.
I think as Satanists we should take wisdom from where-ever we find it and seek to move forward creating our own religion and philosophy. We should not limit ourselves to Christian paradigms but welcome people and ideas from around the world who seek what we seek; truth, freedom and the ability to reach our full potential as human beings.
So may all who seek them find renewal and fertility in all their forms during this season.