Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 01, 2018

The Easter Walk

Easter echoes the eons-old human festivity that celebrates the spring equinox. The cold and dark days of winter are gone, the bright time of fertility has come.

Ishtar, a Mesopotamian goddess of love, stepped down into the underworld of death but was revived:

Inanna-Ishtar's most famous myth is the story of her descent into and return from Kur, the ancient Sumerian underworld, a myth in which she attempts to conquer the domain of her older sister Ereshkigal, the queen of the Underworld, but is instead deemed guilty of hubris by the seven judges of the Underworld and struck dead. Three days later, Ninshubur pleads with all the gods to bring Inanna back, but all of them refuse her except Enki, who sends two sexless beings to rescue Inanna. They escort Inanna out of the Underworld, but the galla, the guardians of the Underworld, drag her husband Dumuzid down to the Underworld as her replacement. Dumuzid is eventually permitted to return to heaven for half the year while his sister Geshtinanna remains in the Underworld for the other half, resulting in the cycle of the seasons.

The Christian resurrection of Jesus is probably an adaption of this old tale. Today's fertility symbols of Easter, the egg and the hare, relate to the old Germanic fertility goddess Eostre (Ostara).

When the Christian message developed from its eastern Mediterranean origin it incorporated older local gods and fables to convert the multi-theistic societies to the new monotheistic* believe. The gods of the pre-Christian religions were not completely discarded but their tales transformed to support the new uniting message the Christian preachers were spreading.

Whatever. It's spring, the darkness has vanished and this is my favored holiday.

Happy Easter


Faberge egg with flowers - bigger

 

The greatest work of German literature is Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust. In part one Dr. Faust and his famulus Wagner take an 'Easter Walk' (Charles T. Brooks' translation, original version). Each Easter Sunday my dad recited this poem for us. I continue that tradition.

Faust:
Spring's warm look has unfettered the fountains,
Brooks go tinkling with silvery feet;
Hope's bright blossoms the valley greet;
Weakly and sickly up the rough mountains
Pale old Winter has made his retreat.
Thence he launches, in sheer despite,
Sleet and hail in impotent showers,
O'er the green lawn as he takes his flight;
But the sun will suffer no white,
Everywhere waking the formative powers,
Living colors he yearns to spread;
Yet, as he finds it too early for flowers,
Gayly dressed people he takes instead.
Look from this height whereon we find us
Back to the town we have left behind us,
Where from the dark and narrow door
Forth a motley multitude pour.
They sun themselves gladly and all are gay,
They celebrate Christ's resurrection to-day.
For have not they themselves arisen?
From smoky huts and hovels and stables,
From labor's bonds and traffic's prison,
From the confinement of roofs and gables,
From many a cramping street and alley,
From churches full of the old world's night,
All have come out to the day's broad light.
See, only see! how the masses sally
Streaming and swarming through gardens and fields
How the broad stream that bathes the valley
Is everywhere cut with pleasure boats' keels,
And that last skiff, so heavily laden,
Almost to sinking, puts off in the stream;
Ribbons and jewels of youngster and maiden
From the far paths of the mountain gleam.
How it hums o'er the fields and clangs from the steeple!
This is the real heaven of the people,
Both great and little are merry and gay,
I am a man, too, I can be, to-day.


---
*The Christian Trinity, the three aspects of the one God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is a doctrinal addition of the 4th century. It just adds an explanatory layer on top of the Abrahamic core of the monotheistic Christian message.

Posted by b on April 1, 2018 at 05:23 AM | Permalink

Comments

back in 2002 the Iraqis appealed to Germany to return the magnificent Ishtar Gate...

but they got bombed back to the stone age instead...

but it would be a nice act of reconciliation, one of these, no?

Posted by: john | Apr 1, 2018 6:30:30 AM | 1

one of these days, that is

Posted by: john | Apr 1, 2018 6:31:37 AM | 2

A lovely poem that celebrates not just the arrival of spring but the renewal of life and hope for a world that for several months past has been lost in darkness.

It would be just as lovely if those of us living in the benighted West could experience such renewal of hope and the revelation that some part of Western civilisation can be saved or salvaged and made fresh and vital again.

Thanks very much for reminding us of what Easter means, B.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 1, 2018 6:37:01 AM | 3

Back at you B, enjoy.

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Apr 1, 2018 7:00:34 AM | 4

Happy Easter B. May this Easter see the resurrection of a new Syria free of war.

Posted by: dinoafuera | Apr 1, 2018 7:19:27 AM | 5

As to the "trinity" the 3-n-1 god is wide spread throughout history and cultures. The trinity appears almost everywhere in mythologies of widely varied cultures.

Today too, we have our trinity to teach us, guide us toward the righteous path. The trinity which rules the Western world and demands submission of all nations not now subservient to it.

One god (3 -n- 1) must rule the earth - good Christians must do god's will - conduct the slaughter of innocents demanded by a vengeful god to rid the world of evil.

For us today - we must worship - the Trinity of Death - the AngloZionist/Wahhabi trinity of slaughter.

Posted by: Babyl-on | Apr 1, 2018 7:38:32 AM | 6

All good traditions need to be carried on. Cheers!

Posted by: meme | Apr 1, 2018 7:48:48 AM | 7

Is Julian Assange still cut off ?

Posted by: librul | Apr 1, 2018 8:46:01 AM | 8

Frohe Ostern B! Let us remember what the real meaning of Christianity is - love thy neighbour!

Posted by: Mischi | Apr 1, 2018 8:59:37 AM | 9

The true message of Easter: you are as dead as you will ever be.

Posted by: jadan | Apr 1, 2018 9:34:50 AM | 10

Thanks for the platform b, and, as always the chance for therapy.

On this Easter, would be nice, if those who profess to believe in Christian theology, would actually live those beliefs.

Posted by: ben | Apr 1, 2018 10:00:17 AM | 11

b, Happy Easter.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Apr 1, 2018 11:06:41 AM | 12

b-Happy Easter and thank you for all you do to make the world a more enlightened place.

Posted by: frances | Apr 1, 2018 11:09:05 AM | 13

I am glad you said "probably" was a development of this myth. I personally believe Christ did rise from the dead and I also believe he was the God incarnate, conquering death through death, thereby freeing us all from the hopelessness of belief that life only consists of our earthly life. If you do believe this also and you are following the western calendar, I wish you a happy Easter, if like me you are an Orthodox Christian we look forward to Pascha next Sunday. If you do not agree with my belief, that's your choice, and I wish you a happy holiday time. One thing for certain, is I, as an Orthodox Christian, will respect your choice and wish you only the very best, there will be no fatwas emanating from here 😎

Posted by: Sean Gabriel | Apr 1, 2018 11:42:22 AM | 14

thanks b.. great website and community that you have here... happy easter everyone...

for me - so much of life is symbolism.. and yes - older symbols get replaced with newer ones... the history is often forgotten.. but regardless - spring is here and the sun is in the ascendancy - here in the northern hemisphere... not sure how they process it in the southern hemisphere...

Posted by: james | Apr 1, 2018 12:41:09 PM | 15

Thanks for sharing b

While I rail on about monotheistic religions I do see value in the various myths that humanity has created over the centuries. Those myths fill in the void of our not knowing virtually anything about why we are here and the cosmos we live in. The problem comes when people believe that those myths are some sort of inviolate truths that all should believe and follow.

I encourage folks to think about the myth of human equality that we live because of the historical control of the tools of finance by a small group of people. It is the religion that binds all the rest and is never discussed as such. We take all these other public utilities for granted but the core assumptions around economic interactions is assumed to be public when it is private.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 1, 2018 12:58:19 PM | 16

Happy Ishtar Day!!

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 1, 2018 12:59:25 PM | 17

@Sean Gabriel

I value Christianity and other religions. I grew up in a very Catholic place with everything that belongs to that. The various believes have a deep purpose and can help us through life and death. But this only when they adhere to Kant's imperative which most naturally do at their core. Unfortunately each religion can also get deformed and abused.

I see nothing contradicting in believing in god or the resurrection on one side and in analyzing the historical development of believe systems on the other. Those are different spiritual spheres.

You allow me a joke?
Q:Why are Orthodox Christian Easter and Christmas later than Roman Christian Easter and Christmas.
A:Orthodox Christian are frugal. They wait until the Roman holiday's are over because the chocolate eggs, bunnies, Santa Clauses and other candy are then heavily discounted. That makes it a much cheaper holiday, especially when one has children.

Posted by: b | Apr 1, 2018 1:28:10 PM | 18

The problem with monotheism, from my logic based perspective, is that a spiritual absolute would be an essence of sentience from which we rise, not an ideal of knowledge and wisdom from which we fell. More the new born babe, than the wise old man, but since organized religion is more a political construct, than spiritual exploration, better it be about that father figure.
Reality is a dichotomy of energy and form. Energy pushing out, as form coalesces in. Consider galaxies are radiation expanding out, as mass coalesces in. We have a central nervous system designed to process information and digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems to process the energy to propel it. Our consciousness pushes out, constantly creating new thoughts and perceptions, that then coalesce in and recede into the past.
So it is a cycle, of processes and forms. In factories, the product goes one way, start to finish, as the process goes the other, consuming material and expelling product. In life, the individual goes birth to death, while the species sheds old generations and grows new.
So reality is circular, but since we are just little organisms moving about, we think of it as linear. Consequently we end up fighting with each other, as one side moves one direction, the other moves the other direction.
If we ever did begin to understand that larger cycle of life, maybe we might not fight as much.

Posted by: John Merryman | Apr 1, 2018 2:25:38 PM | 19

Once the Christianity crossed the into Europe became a religion of war, colonist and degrading religion, instead of love and peace.
The Christian west has a dark past and future , in the name of Jesus occupied, killed and colonized the weak and the unfortunate nations and people.
Do not trust this kind of Christianity , dirty bastards , love war and destruction of all people whom do not kneel to their power.

Posted by: Bobby | Apr 1, 2018 3:23:29 PM | 20

Happy Easter, Happy Feast of Ishtar, Happy Sunday, and O, happy day for any who don't like the previous choices! ;)
_______________________________________

I know I should do my own damn homework, but the recent sensational report that Pope Francis doesn't accept the traditional Catholic conception of Hell made me think of something:

Has Pope Francis commented on Julian Assange's status? I connect the two for a couple of reasons.

Assange has been consigned to a perpetual limbo that is tantamount to Hell-- a real, existential hell. It occurs to me that the present government of Ecuador might be susceptible to Church influence.

I've seen an open letter written by the incomparable John Pilger that calls on President Moreno to end Assange's isolation; it's signed by a number of public figures. I did my clicktivism bit by signing an online petition.

But I'm wondering if the Pope has more clout with Ecuador's government, and if he would be willing, or could be persuaded, to put in a good word for Assange. Assange is no József Cardinal Mindszenty, but one would hope that His Holiness is sympathetic to all victims of politically-motivated crucifixion.

Unless, that is, reports that Assange has been a condom-user makes him persona non grata to the Vatican.

Posted by: Ort | Apr 1, 2018 4:44:59 PM | 21

Let us remember that Faust had almost committed suicide because of the frustration he felt as a scientist who was not able to recognise the inner workings of the universe. When he heard the Easter bells, he regained hope again.

Posted by: Gesine Hammerling | Apr 1, 2018 4:50:16 PM | 22

Yes, other ancient human cultures presented religious belief systems that portrayed a resurrection, or the return from certain death (Osiris) or the underworld (Inanna). Yet these cultures did not introduce the idea of freedom, freedom from death and from political oppression. The celebration of Easter in Christ's' resurrection was the clearest idea of the possibility of freedom from death, even if not resurrected, through forgiveness and freedom from the burden of sin and regret. We also might realize the life of Jesus shows us a way to an individual freedom (through serving others) that releases us from the moral traps set by the burden of oppressive human laws. Easter is the ultimate escape from the political oppression against the freedom of spiritual ethics. Christ doesn't ignore the Pharisees' laws as much as obviates them through "love thy neighbor."

With the blessings of God we don't need to worry about the 10 thousand laws that keep people entrapped in endless suffering (even if its just freedom from the religious laws of the time, and they stoned people for minor infractions). Keeping to love makes us right with God and fellow humans. Shows of piety (and law-keeping) are for the political animal, not the spiritual freedom allowed to all through Christian ethics.

The reason I follow MoA is the independent reporting based on "best available knowledge," which is a scientific definition of truth. Also the extraordinary clarity and wisdom of the commentariat. We are in a dangerous time with Cold War II - our political endorsement of Western corporate-military dominance has created a horrific world for people everywhere in the world. Without exaggeration, I can say we are leading a planetary cultural genocide, even in (especially in?) our own Western cultures. Christ uniquely laid down a foundation for how people might live with each other in peace and virtue. It is sill the only religion that offers a vision for a coherent society that welcomes all as they are, judges not, and has a vision for saving the world, its people and the natural ecologies we live in. (I'd argue this coherent vision was set forth by Augustine's City of God, and after 16 centuries its about time we updated the operating system.)

Posted by: CanAmerican | Apr 1, 2018 4:54:17 PM | 23

I could argue all creation myths, pantheons, divinities and religions are direct descendants of the Sumerian era. The Anunna and their offsprings the Ki, gave birth to us, civilisation and everything henceforth. Look closely at the mechanisms of Sumerian, Assyrian, Akkadian, Elamite, Zoroastrian, Egyptian, Judaic, Vedic, Greek, Roman and christian religion and you will find the elements that trace their lineage to Sumer's An and his sons and daughters..

Posted by: Lozion | Apr 1, 2018 7:48:37 PM | 24

I endorse this post.

Posted by: Anunnaki | Apr 1, 2018 9:19:09 PM | 25

Happy Akitu and from this Assyrian, Kha b’Nissan - Assyrian New Year 6768

Posted by: Anunnaki | Apr 1, 2018 9:23:26 PM | 26

And to you Annunaki :) Tell me, what of the old religion of Assyrians? Are there any practitioners left since most are christians now..?

Posted by: Lozion | Apr 1, 2018 9:49:26 PM | 27

Sorry Anunnaki not Annunaki, I often confuse both spellings..

Posted by: Lozion | Apr 1, 2018 9:50:45 PM | 28

@27 wasn’t Noah in his rickety wood Ark. Utnapishtim in his tessaract space ship orbiting earth with DNA seed banks waiting for the mud to recede to fly back to earth to re-seed plants and animals

And modern Assyrians? I have a lot of cousins named Sargon.

Posted by: Anunnaki | Apr 1, 2018 10:00:10 PM | 29

@29 Ah yes when EnLil got angry and diverted a comet tails towards Earth atmosphere..

Posted by: Lozion | Apr 1, 2018 10:50:39 PM | 30

I loved Enlil’s reasoning for wanting to wipe out mankind: we had become noisy.

Posted by: Anunnaki | Apr 1, 2018 10:57:57 PM | 31

I'll stick with Happy Holidays and everyone have a good time!

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 2, 2018 9:16:49 AM | 32

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