Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 16, 2017

Ostara, Ishtar And A Happy Easter Walk

Easter echoes the eons old human festivity to celebrate the March equinox (in the northern hemisphere) and the arrival of spring. The dark and cold days of winter are gone. The bright time of fertility has come.

Today's fertility symbols of Easter, the egg and the hare, relate to the old Germanic fertility goddess Eostre (Ostara). Ishtar, a Mesopotamian goddess of love, stepped down into the underworld of death but was revived. The Christian resurrection of Jesus is probably a transformation of this older hopeful tale.

When the Christian message spread from its eastern Mediterranean origin its incorporation of old local gods and fables helped 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 united message the Christian preachers were spreading.

But whatever. - It is spring, the darkness vanishes and it is my favored holiday. This year the Julian and Gregorian calendars coincide. We thus follow the Russian Barbarians and wish us all

Happy Easter

Faberge egg with spring flowers and music box- bigger

Please join me, v. Goethe and Dr. Faust in our traditional Easter Walk:

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.
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 16, 2017 at 11:25 UTC | Permalink


Hope, always hope--even in this dreariest of mean times.

Posted by: Glorious Bach | Apr 16 2017 11:41 utc | 1

Happy Easter to all and may we celebrate more Happy Easters to come!

Thanks B for reminding us that as long as we continue to celebrate Easter and remember what it represents, we are also celebrating hope, the possibility of renewal and setting humanity on a path towards peace and away from greed, violence, exploitation and lack of care for our fellow humans, animals and other travellers on this planet.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 16 2017 11:52 utc | 2

Actually the Trinity was one of the earliest pantheistic traditions incorporated and the most foundational to Christianity, as it incorporated the Greek Year Gods, essentially past, present and future. (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)
A good book on the subject;

Posted by: John Merryman | Apr 16 2017 12:15 utc | 3

Of course, the Catholic Church, as the eternal institution, didn't really care for a foundational concept of renewal and did its best to fudge the message. Which they did a good job of, resulting in the need for Luther to push the reset button.

Posted by: John Merryman | Apr 16 2017 12:19 utc | 4

An age ago, was indoctrinated from birth, coercively forced, at times brutalized, to conform and comply thru to adulthood, re Catholicism, Irish-American strain, which probably explains why I am not one (lapsed, they call it. Huh!). Orthodox religions, all kinds, on many levels, have much to be reviled for, IMV.

Yet, all the same ...

Wishing our generous host b, all Moonbats, including you lurkers, & your families, a Safe & Joyous Easter, but especially the 'unseen', the 'least' & most vulnerable, 'over there'. May these endless wars & conflicts, perhaps one day, end.

Peace. Salaam. Shalom.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 16 2017 12:19 utc | 5

Then again the essential fallacy of monotheism is that absolute is basis, not apex, so a spiritual absolute would be the essence of sentience, from which consciousness rises, not an ideal of wisdom and judgement from which it fell. The new born babe, not the wise old man.
It's just socially effective to assert the laws are given, rather than emergent with the processes they describe.
The assumptions are still deeply embedded in western culture, even if the folk concepts have faded.

Posted by: John Merryman | Apr 16 2017 12:27 utc | 6

sonnet 114

Or whether doth my mind, being crowned with you,
Drink up the monarch’s plague, this flattery?
Or whether shall I say, mine eye saith true,
And that your love taught it this alchemy,
To make of monsters and things indigest
Such cherubins as your sweet self resemble,
Creating every bad a perfect best,
As fast as objects to his beams assemble?
O! ’tis the first, ’tis flattery in my seeing,
And my great mind most kingly drinks it up:
Mine eye well knows what with his gust is ‘greeing,
And to his palate doth prepare the cup:
If it be poisoned, ’tis the lesser sin
That mine eye loves it and doth first begin.

William Shakespeare

Posted by: Frosty | Apr 16 2017 12:55 utc | 7

Christianity proclaims that it is righteous and it is at war with (battling) ALL the other religions which are deemed to be (at best) false. The adherents to these other religions are misled (at best) or evil. Christianity says that it cannot tolerate (must destroy) evil. Accordingly, one day the king of Christianity will return to rule the world.

Islam offers up the same story.

What a perfect formula we have for fomenting war. Inspiring youths to kill for their (faith) religion.

Religion is a fundamental component in the justification of mass murder. It's been used this way for centuries and it has not ebbed.

Posted by: fast freddy | Apr 16 2017 13:11 utc | 8

My mother asked me to search for traditional Easter music services like the Messiah online. I could not find anything beyond 1 or 2 Easter events with music but not like what she wanted. However, I did find dozens of Easter egg hunts and events. As I took an evening walk this past week, I noticed lights in the yard up ahead. Leftover Christmas lights? Nope. Lit up inflatable Easter Bunnys with bright red LED bunny heads in the windows (almost looked like Playboy image). I know the Easter Bunny is supposed to have a connection but it seems to dominate now.

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 16 2017 13:48 utc | 9

And when Jesus came up from the waters of the Jordan, a voice from heaven said "this my son in whom I am pleased" and the holy spirit descended like a dove.

Above, is the account of Jesus' baptism.

The trinity is not a 4th century invention nor the adoption of pantheism. It is just a word to convey something about a diety, The Diety, that revealed himself to his finite creatures.

Other religions may have some things right but only in glimpses.

Christ is risen that we may know his promise of redemption on the cross was given to all who trust in him.

Christ is risen indeed.

Posted by: JaimeInTexas | Apr 16 2017 15:41 utc | 10

Just as the day of rest was a spiritual discipline that demonstrated there is more to life than production and consumption - and so was a threat to every narrative of power and control...

So the resurrection is a symbol that the alternative narrative of the Kingdom of Heaven does triumph over the fear and death we all live in. Not only does the Kingdom of Heaven out-survive death, it transforms it. The resurrection narrative does not defeat the powers of this world through conflict. It 'outlives' them, most especially with those eternal qualities of mercy, forgiveness, life, light, and yes, love.

May we all celebrate this day and the lives of those who have pointed us all to a life of wholeness.

thank you b, for this site and for your work to host it.


Posted by: les7 | Apr 16 2017 16:24 utc | 11

I believe Easter is the holiday where Jesus pokes his head out of the cave, and if he sees his shadow, he lays an egg. If he doesn't see his shadow he poops out a chocolate bunny. Or am I getting confused?

Either way, Happy Easter everyone!

Posted by: WorldBLee | Apr 16 2017 16:39 utc | 12

Farm Festival by Jules La Forgue(my translation)
Two horns winde a duo, echoes swell ;
Rockets fly, scorching paths so dim ;
A spree - Go! Go on throw yourselves in!
Your hearts swollen with pride
For you know what the next day will bring -
Your arms again wrenched in toil...
So, Go on, let your energy boil !
This is a rare day, a high day
In vain the violin cries for distant kin
Or brass risks call the patriot in...
A shepherd's pipe the only recall
Young bucks - to girls at the pastoral !
Hi! One couple already to dream
Slips aside, crickets whirrrr! in the furrow.
Soft fingers torment a locket, its seam....
Let the blast of hunting horn cease its sorrow
These are the salt of the earth these people.
Silence ! Here at hand the day
Two innocents escape the mayor or the licence
So drink up now and frolic
To mock and defy
Time, the sad Science.

Posted by: Jocelyn Braddell | Apr 16 2017 16:42 utc | 13


Lol. The spring festival was originally a fertility celebration, so the bunnies connection runs deep.

And shallow.

Posted by: John Merryman | Apr 16 2017 17:08 utc | 14

I checked and indeed, you can find Russian greeting cards "Happy Easter", but that seems to be copied from the West. More standard is to greet people on that day with words "Christ has resurrected", and post cards have those words but there are also other, less religious versions. From Holy Internet: " Traditional Easter greeting is Христос воскрес! (Christ is risen!) and the response is Воистину воскрес! (In truth He is risen!) ".

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 16 2017 17:11 utc | 15

There was a nice cartoon in the paper yesterday:

A muslim couple walk past a shop, there's eggs & stuff and a big sign reading 'Happy Easter'.
One of them to the other: 'From what I understand, some rabbit was born to them...'

Happy Easter!

Posted by: smuks | Apr 16 2017 17:43 utc | 16

I think the next phase change of human evolution will involve a switch back from the linear, growth oriented view of the last several thousand years, to a more cyclical, thermodynamic conceptual foundation.
For instance, we think of time as the point of the present moving past to future, but the reality is change turning future to past. Tomorrow becomes yesterday because the earth turns. Events have to occur, in order to be determined.
Alan Watts used the example of a boat and its wake, as analogy, in that the wake doesn't steer the boat, the boat creates the wake. Events are first in the present, then in the past.
This makes time an effect of activity, similar to temperature, color, pressure, etc.
If you consider the actual, physical manifestation of time and history, this concept on which human culture is based, it is residue in the present state. What is measured as time; duration, is the state of the present, as events form and dissolve.

The overwhelming physical reality is the thermodynamic convection cycles/feedback loops in which we evolved. They underlay all aspects of biology and civilization. Right now, you might say we are at the crest of an enormous wave and it's mostly foam and bubbles, with a massive undertow.

Posted by: John Merryman | Apr 16 2017 18:29 utc | 17

A reflection from this day

Easter is both cross and ressurection. At the cross Jesus face the wrath of the system, and the judgement of God upon it; alone. The ones that said they had his back, had fled. One betrayed him directly... but how many others who saw healings, who were fed or were themselves healed – were silent when the crowds called crucify him.?

There is a pilgrimage that each of us makes in moving away from the narrative/culture/lifestyle that defines the 'kingdom'/empire around us. It is a pilgrimage that at times, will lead through abandonment and betrayal. It may cost us the very things that give us security/life. That is the cross. We carry it in part for ourselves, and in part for others – the same others that may have abandoned us.

I don't know how many times I have known abandonment, betrayal have felt the utter hopelessness of a rock hard tomb... But yet on the morning of the third day... some came to mourn him... and found the tomb opened, the body gone, and later encountered the person they thought dead – alive.

This too has been my experience. I do not know what enables me to rise... is it the faith of friends that come looking for me? Is it some divine force, power or person? Is it the one who created me in the first place, nurturing me toward true spiritual freedom, wisdom and life?

I know most definitely it is not my own strength of heart.

The utter humility of that realization is part of what the cross brings to us. A dependency from which I have found true life to be possible.

Peace, salaam and shalom to you all

Posted by: les7 | Apr 16 2017 18:38 utc | 18

Something biblical for Christians to ponder:

Everyone whom had died remains dead and knows and senses nothing.

There is NO afterlife for ANYONE without the second resurrection which you await.

There is no purpose for a second resurrection if everyone who has died gets a free pass to a glorious afterlife.

Check it out.

Posted by: fast freddy | Apr 16 2017 18:52 utc | 19

She hears upon that water without sound
A voice which cries 'The Tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering,
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay'

Posted by: ruralito | Apr 16 2017 18:59 utc | 20

ecrit Wallace Stevens

Posted by: ruralito | Apr 16 2017 18:59 utc | 21

John Merryman @ 3

Great book recommendation -- I think.

I downloaded it through Kindle app and so far have only read about 30 pages.

I was under the illusion I knew a lot about the beliefs of ancient Greece. I see now I didn't. Also expected it to be dated. So far it is not.

High reviews on Amazon. One reviewer said was one of those books everyone should read. So far I agree. Thanks.

Lots to think about @ 17.

Posted by: Ken Nari | Apr 16 2017 22:26 utc | 22

The Christians of the Middle East must be very resilient to withstand the onslaught.

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 16 2017 23:15 utc | 23

thanks for the easter reminder, amidst everything else that is being focused on.. new beginnings which we surely do need... looking for new leaders to pave a new direction here at this moment and don't see anything on the horizon yet..

Posted by: james | Apr 17 2017 4:24 utc | 24

Hello to my fellow moonbats, here and afar.

I'm enjoying the new voices and the continued, measured old-timers. It's been many years now and the conversation continues to grow, pruned and guided by our generous host.

A tough winter here in the Northwest, much more frost and snow than we are used to ... which makes the glory of the sunshiny days, lasting into the evening that much more welcome.

It seems suitable to hail you all to mark this The Easter / Passover / Spring celebration.


Posted by: jonku | Apr 17 2017 6:21 utc | 25

b, It is spring, the darkness vanishes and it is my favored holiday.

it is songkran in thailand. new year. it's hard to figure it as new year. it's hot and dry, the earth is at its closest to dead. it never dies in the tropics as it does back home in north america and, before my time, in europe. but the new year is celebrated back home under the same dead/near dead conditions. the days stop shortening and begin to lengthen ... the days get longer though the cold gets stronger ... was it memories of that that drove the vedic invaders of india to supplant other new years? to make of the natives april fools?

the equivalent time of rebirth here is more nearly the summer solstice when the monsoon returns to drench the parched earth.

but it rained on songkran in north thailand this year, and was cloudy and cold. hardly the weather to splash water in relief and drive away the drought.

the earth is changing. the stars change slowly, we can only calculate and imagine sidereal changes. what the sky must have looked like, how it will ... but we see in front of ourselves the accelerating changes of our anthropocene aeon. when my father was the age i am now he used to tell me ... i won't see it, but you will. i have no son or daughter to speak the same words to, but to the youth all around ... even if we'd begun yesterday, on easter, to get right with mother earth, they'll still see it, and their children and children's children. and curse us for the legacy we've left them.

i suppose they might not ever know how sweet it was once on mother earth. idle talk. we're certainly not going to get right with mother earth, not yesterday or next sunday or next easter. we're going to war over petrocarbons instead, junkies fighting for the fix, under the source of all the energy on the planet, including fossil carbon, the hot middle eastern sun. so clever we are, we never got past our sophomore year.

not a cheery thought, certainly, but none of us having the strength to do otherwise, we can at least stand and face the music ... not of the spheres, but the dirge of our descendants' tears.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 17 2017 8:16 utc | 26

A very happy Easter to everyone.

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 17 2017 11:06 utc | 27

thanks for the poems.
It was a lover and his lass...
Between the acres of the rye,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino
These pretty country folks would lie...
This carol they began that hour,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
How that a life was but a flower...
And therefore take the present time
what has been lost under capitalism? and what is it we are building w/this thing we are doing? nothing good. the patient is sick. needs lots of rest. try telling people, esp in the US, that. they'll lock you up for that shit.

Posted by: jason | Apr 17 2017 12:14 utc | 28

Great comment, John Merryman. It seems most revolutions have had this phenomena baked in. I wouldn't limit it to the West.

But talk about baby steps! When one ponders it, one gets a real taste of the tortoise's pace of evolution.

Now get ye outside for some of that fresh Ishtar air, Moonbats!

Posted by: sejomoje | Apr 17 2017 14:12 utc | 29


thanks, happy Easter!

your comment, like previous ones in the last two, three weeks, landed in the spam queue for no good reason. I had to manually release it.

Neither your name, nor your IP is blacklisted by me so this should not happened at all.

I am in a back and forth with the Typepad helpdesk over this. Will let you know what comes out of it.

Posted by: b | Apr 17 2017 15:26 utc | 30

It's shameful what has happened to Christians in the Middle East. In the west, I've only heard the Catholics say anything about this.

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 17 2017 16:44 utc | 31

Mit Verlaub, for those curious, here are some secular references for the antiquity and historicity of Christianity:

- In Tacitus’annals. Year 64 AD, the fire in Rome, under Nero, blamed on the Christians. (Search word 'christian')

- In Suetonius, in Claudius 25:
“Because the Jews constantly made trouble, which was instigated by Chrestus, he expelled them from the City.”

- and Nero 16:
“Punishment was meted out to the Christians (from AD64), a group of individuals given over to a new and harmful set of superstitions.”

- In Pliny the Younger's letter to emperor Trajan.

- In the Talmud:
“On the eve of Passover they hung Jesus of Nazareth for sorcery and leading Israel astray”

- In Josephus (wiki).

- In the Mara of Serapion letter:
“Or the Jews by the murder of their Wise King, seeing that from that very time their kingdom was driven away from them?”

Happy Easter!

Posted by: B2 | Apr 17 2017 18:09 utc | 32

B2 @ 32

That's the best you can offer?

No one has ever questioned the "antiquity and historicity" of Christianity. Or of paganism, or of Judaism, for that matter.

Those are all well documented religious movements. The existence of Jesus, however (like that of Zeus, Odin, and Noah, say,) has left no historical record whatsoever. Not one word.

Pretty astonishing that the one and only Son of God came to earth and saved everybody forever and no one at the time remembered to jot it down.

Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, etc. state only that by their time there was a cult in Rome that called themselves Christian -- just one of countless cults -- but the writers are all at a complete loss as to where the Jesus tale came from. The "Talmud evidence" you give is from 1300 years after the supposed fact. The paragraph in Josephus (one paragraph in 25 volumes) has been recognized as a medieval interpolation for centuries.

You seem to be astonishingly ignorant of the sources you cite and also of at least 175 years of diligent biblical scholarship.

As Mark Twain said, faith is something we believe that we know aint so.

Posted by: Ken Nari | Apr 18 2017 2:31 utc | 33

@33 Ken Nari

Well indeed I'm just getting familiar with these sources.

I thought 'antiquity and historicity' of Christianity might be relevant because I've seen some folks saying Christianity was 'created' at the Council of Nicea in 325, that Jesus was deified then. As if earlier he was considered a good man, but just a man. But most of these texts say that Christians worshipped 'Christus/Chrestus' as a god, proving, I would think, that long before Nicea he was considered by believers as God.

I think these texts do actually prove that people believed there was someone called Christ and had followers in several places. I think it's remarkable that someone who quite disliked the religion would recount events just as they are portrayed in the Bible, not as 'this is what they believe', but as if it really happened. Thus Tacitus:

Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome

Could that be considered a historical record? It seems to me that this text includes the word 'Christus' and describes his execution under Pilate.

The scholar in the Talmud link claims that that specific Talmud is, as you say, from the 1300s but is the 'earliest full manuscript Talmud'. Why would the Rabbis have written such a piece of text if they didn't believe this certain Jesus existed at all? Wouldn't they have omitted any reference? The article actually claims that such references were actually omitted or erased from several early manuscripts.

Yes, the Josephus 'Testimonium Flavianum' paragraph seems to be widely considered as interpolated but I think you'll find on the wiki link that some researchers considering an extra Arabic source argue that's it's good enough. Also, there are a couple other apparently cleaner pieces referring to John the Baptist and 'James the brother of Christ'.

But there's also the Bible, which you might feel less inclined to consider reliable but is certainly an extensive record of events and has plenty of detail, by several writers.

Posted by: B2 | Apr 18 2017 19:45 utc | 34

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