The Many Meanings Of #Easter: Religious And Secular

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“The true meaning of Easter? Find it within and celebrate it.” – http://www.angelfire.com

(The following article originally posted on http://www.angelfire.com can be viewed in its entirety by clicking on the link below.)

What is the True Meaning of Easter?

The Easter we celebrate today is a curious blend of the religious and the secular; of paganism, Judaism, and Christianity.Some say the word Easter is derived from Eostre (also known as Ostara), an ancient Anglo-Saxon Goddess. She symbolized the rebirth of the day at dawn and the rebirth of life in the spring. The arrival of spring was celebrated all over the world long before the religious meaning became associated with Easter. As Christianity grew and spread throughout the world, it was common practice to adopt and modify existing non-Christian festivals and assimilate them into the Christian theology. Because Eostre was the goddess of spring and her symbolism dealt with renewal and rebirth, the Christian belief in the resurrection of Christ fit well with these themes.

In every other language but English and German, the name Easter is derived from the Hebrew word pesach for ‘he passed over’, so in Spanish and Italian Easter is Pascua, in French it is Paques, in Portugese it is Pascoa, and so on. Since church proclamation in 325AD, Easter has been celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the Vernal Equinox. This date was determined by noting that the Last Supper, as Christians came to know it, was actually a Passover seder, and Jesus’s resurrection occured on that Sunday. Passover occurs on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan on the first full moon on or after the Equinox. A further connection to Passover, is the fact that it celebrates the angel of death passing over the houses where the doors were marked with the blood of a sacrificial lamb. Jesus is seen by Christians as the sacrificial lamb whose blood was shed so that they would have everlasting life.

If you lived in Egypt, you would have called him Osiris. The ancient Greeks named him Dionysus. He was named Attis in Asia Minor. In Syria, he was called Adonis. Bacchus was his name in ancient Italy. If you lived in Persia four thousand years ago, you would have called him Mithras.

Many religious historians believe that the death and resurrection legends were first associated with Attis (Osiris /Dionysus /Mithras, …) many centuries before the birth of Jesus. They were simply grafted onto the story of Jesus’ life in order to make Christian theology more acceptable to Pagans. Ancient Christians had another explanation; they claimed that Satan had created counterfeit deities in advance of the coming of Christ in order to confuse humanity. Modern-day Christians generally regard the Attis legend as being a Pagan myth of little value. They regard Jesus’ death and the story of his resurrection as being true, and unrelated to the earlier tradition.

The true meaning of Easter? Guess that depends on who you are, where you’re from, what you’ve been taught, ….

Easter symbols and traditions again seem to be a blending of Pagan and Christian symbology.

The egg and hare (bunny) were symbols of Ostara representing fertility and new life in the Spring. Since ancient times many cultures have associated eggs with the universe. They’ve been dyed, decorated and painted by the Romans, Gaul’s, Persians and the Chinese. They were used in ancient spring festivals to represent the rebirth of life.Dyed eggs also formed part of the rituals of the Babylonian mystery religions and in Egypt they were hung in temples as symbol of regenerative life.

As Christianity took hold the egg began to symbolize the rebirth of man rather than nature.A Polish folktale tells of the Virgin Mary giving eggs to soldiers at the cross while she pleaded with them to be merciful. As her tears dropped they spattered droplets on the eggs mottling them with a myriad of colors. Christians of the Near East used the egg to symbolize the tomb from which Jesus broke forth.  They were often colored red to represent the blood of Christ. The Easter tradition of rolling eggs is said to symbolize the rolling away of the rock from Jesus’s tomb.

The bunny as an Easter symbol seems to have it’s origins in Germany, where it was first mentioned in German writings in the 1500s.In many parts of Germany the people believed the Easter bunny laid red eggs on Holy Thursday and multi-colored eggs the night before Easter Sunday.  That’s where the first edible Easter Bunnies were made from pastry and sugar. When German settlers came to Pennsylvania Dutch country in the 1700’s they brought the custom with them. The children believed that if they were good the “Oschter Haws” would lay a nest of colored eggs.

The Easter basket originates from the ancient Catholic custom of taking the food for Easter dinner to mass to be blessed. This, too, mirrored the even more ancient ritual of bringing the first crops and seedlings to the temple to insure a good growing season. This practice, combined with the “rabbit’s nest” of the Pennsylvania Dutch has evolved in the brightly colored containers filled with sweets, toys and the like left for children on Easter morning by the Easter Bunny.

Easter lilies are sometimes called the “white-robed apostles of hope,” because they were reportedly found growing in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus’ sweat fell to the ground in his final hours. These same flowers have been long revered by Pagans of many lands as fertility symbols.

Hot Cross Buns: At the feast of Eostre, the Saxon fertility Goddess, an ox was sacrificed. The ox’s horns became a symbol for the feast. They were carved into the ritual bread. Thus originated “hot cross buns”. The word “buns” is derived from the Saxon word “boun” which means “sacred ox.” Later, the symbol of a symmetrical cross was used to decorate the buns; the cross represented the moon, the heavenly body associated with the Goddess, and its four quarters. Still later, the cross was symbolic of the cross of the crucifiction.

Now this is my favorite! I’ve read in Sweden, the children dress up like witches and put Easter greetings into the mailboxes of their friends. Firecrackers are set off to scare away real witches. Don’t have a clue how Holloween and Easter seem to have meshed here, but the point of this whole thing is, joy. Joy in life. If that comes with bunnies and colored eggs, or witch costumes or whatever, who cares? If someone else celebrates something different than you, celebrate their joy in living, however it’s expressed.

I personally don’t care if Jesus was born on Dec. 25th or if he really died and was resurrected as a historical figure at Eastertime. It’s the spirit of rebirth, of continual life, of the love and message of Jesus that means more than whether any of this is historically true or not. If it is for you, God bless you, and if it’s not, God bless you, or Buddha bless you, or Bubba bless you, or whatever. Quite frankly I think the’Holy Land’ could use a good easter egg hunt these days – rolling a few easter eggs down the hill instead of exploding themselves in hate and intolerence. We all could. And quite frankly, I have a good feeling that Jesus would love chocolate easter bunnies as much as he loved dancing at weddings and turning water into wine. This whole world is so bogged down in dogma and needing everyone else to believe exactly like we do, that we miss the essence, the meaning inherent in all beliefs. And we’re killing each other in the process.

The true meaning of Easter? Find it within and celebrate it. Celebrate all expressions of joy however they manifest. Even if Easter has no meaning to you at all– just another day. Another day is the most beautiful of miracles. Celebrate every minute of it however you feel called to, and allow and rejoice in others however they feel called to celebrate theirs.

http://www.angelfire.com/ny5/spiritsong/EasterMeaning.html

Man’s Search For #Meaning In #Suffering … #GoodFriday

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 “It is we who impose a sense of meaning on the events of our lives, not the other way around.  And we can draw a sense of purpose and control from the most unusual places.” – Frederic Bartlett

(The following excerpt from Suffering, Meaning, Hope  by Mindy Greenstein, Ph.D., originally appeared on psychologytoday.com and can be viewed in its entirety by clicking on the link below.)

 Existentialist thinkers such as Frankl view suffering as a potential springboard both for having a need for meaning and for finding it. As one breast cancer patient reported in a study by Suzanne Thompson,  “I feel as if I were for the first time really conscious.  My life is framed in a certain amount of time.  I always knew it.  But I can see it, and it’s made better by the knowledge.”  Frankl likes to quote Nietzche’s remark that “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.”

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-flip-side/201112/suffering-meaning-hope

Sex, Lies, and the Fascinating Psychology of Cheating #marriage

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Recovery from an extramarital affair asks a lot of partners. They must not only process painful feelings, repair the rupture of trust, and share their deepest vulnerabilities, but also take steps to build a new, resilient bond, both emotionally and sexually. Allocating the right amount of time to deal with the affair and determining when partners are ready to focus on the present and future marital bond is a struggle for both clinicians and couples.

http://www.alternet.org/sex-lies-and-fascinating-psychology-cheating

Happy Things That Can #Stress You Out

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“There’s no such thing as fun for the whole family.” – Jerry Seinfeld

(The following excerpt taken from 7 Happy Life Events That Commonly Cause Stress by Carolyn Gregoire was originally posted on huffingtonpost.com on 03/23/2013. To view it in its entirety please click on the link below.)

It’s an unfortunate paradox that many of life’s most momentous occasions are both the best of times and the worst of times. The events that should be some of the most joyful -– getting married, having kids, taking time off work to travel abroad –- can also be the most stress-inducing. Whether it’s the pressure of planning a major event or the anxiety of trying to live up to our own expectations of how happy we should be, once-joyful milestones can easily devolve into anxiety-filled occasions.

These include:

1. Taking a vacation

2. Sundays

3. Getting a new job or promotion

4. Falling in love

5. Birthdays

6. Being engaged

7. Retiring

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/23/10-happy-life-events-that_n_2761433.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular#slide=2255005

24 Canadianisms Way More Interesting Than “Eh?” #Canada

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We adore our neighbor to the north… but do wish they’d call their damn geese home!

The first and last historical dictionary of Canadian English, A Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles, was published in 1967. A new edition has been in the works since 2005, and is scheduled for publication in 2014, but in the meantime the original dictionary has been put online and makes a wonderful place to search or browse through the wordy history of “our neighbors to the North” (either an Americanism or a cliché, depending on how you feel about it). Here are some Canadianisms that are much more interesting than the usual “eh?”

1. BACK JUNK

“Junk” was a word for a chunk of log or piece of firewood. “Back junk” is defined as “a large log placed at the back of a wood fire to make it last.”

2. CALGARY REDEYE

Skip the Bloody Mary and have one of these, “a mixture of tomato juice and beer, a drink associated with Calgary, Alberta, and the surrounding area.”

3. CALUMET FEVER

A term used among Ottawa valley lumberjacks, it referred to the “fear of riding a crib of logs down the slide at Calumet, Quebec.”

4. FISHOCRACY

A term describing the structure of the Newfoundland fishing industry. A 1940 source explains, “the fishocracy comprised in descending order: (1) the principal merchants, high officials, and some lawyers and medical men; (2) small merchants, important shopkeepers, lawyers, doctors, and secondary officials; (3) grocers, master mechanics, and schooner holders; and (4) fishermen.”

5. HOGTOWN

A nickname for Toronto which some say harkens back to its role in the meat-packing industry, but which the dictionary says is “so called because outsiders accuse Torontonians of taking everything unto themselves.”

6. HYDRO

Hydro-electric power. Canadians still talk about dealing with their “hydro bill.”

7. IDIOT STICK

A small, cheap version of a Native totem pole sold to tourists in British Columbia.

8. IMPROVED BRITISHER

Good-natured teasing term for “an immigrant from the British Isles, especially an Englishman, who has been in Canada long enough to have lost some of his native shortcomings.” See also, “improved Scotsman.”

9. JAWBONE

An old Western slang term for credit, “presumably because the jawbone had to be exercised in speaking to win over the creditor.” A 1966 citation reads, “the mower parts would have been charged or, in the language of the country, put on his jawbone.”

10. MAL DE RAQUETTE

From the French for “snowshoe sickness.” It refers to “a painful state of inflamed joints and muscles affecting snowshoers, caused by undue strain on the tendons of the leg.”

11. MOOSE MILK

Northern slang for moonshine, it has also come to refer to mixed drinks based on rum and milk.

12. MOSCOVADOEY

A term from Eastern Quebec for snow with the texture of muscovado (raw sugar).

13. MUDPUP

A term for “a young Englishman sent out to Western Canada to learn farming.” A 1955 source claims that “when the war [WWI] started the Mud Pups joined up to the last man and the bachelor population of Duncan vanished overnight.”

14. MUFFIN

A 1965 history explains, “at the beginning of the winter season each young man chose ‘a muffin’—a ‘steady date’ for the season—an arrangement terminated by mutual consent in the following spring.” An 1865 book also gave the term “muffinage” for the state of being hooked up with a muffin. But an 1873 source claimed “no lady owned to ever having been a muffin, at least not until she knew her young man well enough to tell him so.”

15.OGOPOGO

sea monster said to live in Okanagan Lake in British Columbia. A 1936 source describes what he looks like: “Ogopogo’s head is slightly reminiscent of Henry VIII, he has a torso like an accordeon, and a tail like a shillelagh.”

16. RUBABOO

A stew of pemmican, flour, and various other things on hand. Now used figuratively for a mishmash of varied stuff. An arts festival in Alberta calls itself Rubaboo after “a Michif (Métis) word meaning a stew that’s full of life and food that feeds the spirit.”

17. SUGARING-OFF

“The process of boiling maple sap to make syrup and sugar through evaporation and crystallization.” Also, “a party held in the sugar bush at the time of sugaring-off.”

18. WINNIPEG COUCH

A simple couch that could be opened into a bed. According to a 1958 source “the Winnipeg couch was a fine oldtimer, built of solid iron and coil springs in those days when Canadians fell into bed with their boots on.”

The new edition of A Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles will include terms that came into use after the 1967 edition, such as:

19. ALL-DRESSED

“All optional garnishes on fast food items.” (Eastern Canada)

20. BUNNY HUG

“A hooded sweatshirt.” (Saskatchewan)

21. LOONIE

“One dollar coin.”

22. MANGIA-CAKE

“A name used by Italian-Canadians in a jocular or derogatory way to refer to ‘a non-Italian white person with characteristic North American traits and customs.”

23. MIDGET

“A level of amateur sports for players usually aged 16-17”; or “a player in such a league.”

24. TOONIE

“Two dollar coin.”

Got a Canadianism you’re worried they might miss? They’re taking suggestions!

Read the full text here: http://mentalfloss.com/article/49419/24-canadianisms-way-more-interesting-eh#ixzz2OYM7rZfK
–brought to you by mental_floss!

8 Keys To #Resiliency

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“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.” – Helen Keller

(The following excerpt taken from Eight Keys To Life Hardiness And Resiliency by Preston Ni, M.S.B.A. in Communication Success, originally appeared on psychology today.com on February 11, 2012. To view it in its entirety please click on the link below.)

As we navigate through challenging times toward a better future, it’s useful to visit some tried and true ideas regarding life hardiness and resiliency. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but rather a reminder of some existential ideas we sometimes set aside as we tend to the hectic details of daily life. If you find this article helpful, share it with those whom you care about who are in need. There’s power in good will reverberated.

1. The power of perspective

2. Don’t focus on the mud

3. All you have to do is ask…the right individuals

4. Thrive on your strengths while exploring new potential

5. Keep the fun and enjoyment

6. Keep your options open

7. Keep the faith

8. Resolve to never, ever give up

http://www.psychologytoday.com/collections/201303/what-doesnt-break-you/eight-keys-life-hardiness-and-resiliency?page=2