Memories of Easter-celebrations-long-past with my siblings flooded my thoughts. The times my Mother (raising seven children alone) would make meticulous "trails" (to spark our wonder and imagination) of "bunny droppings" (usually jelly-beans leading up to the door or scattered through paths inside the house) to help us visualize the way he had traveled as he dropped some of the candy along the way. Bunnies, as you know, can only carry so much at one time without dropping some of it (wink)
My Mother's birthday was two days ago, so, naturally I'm thinking a lot about her right now. She would have turned 84 this year and, especially at times like this, I miss her. Just before she died in 2006, her wish for us (her children and grandchildren) was that we would learn to break through the learned behaviors passed down for generations - the "ingrained aversion to closeness and hugging and cheering one another onward" - and begin having meaningful family reunions minus secretive-back-stabbing, the things she had probably tried to "fix" by herself but didn't quite know how. There were times we took turns blaming her for the way we "grew up" or "turned out", but one can only claim "dysfunctional family" for so long before it becomes their OWN issue and their OWN responsibility to "do something about it". It doesn't seem we have progressed very well. In fact, we still don't have family reunions and some of us don't even bother to speak with one another, even now. But I think we are each doing our best to gain that "connected, family" feeling within our own little circles of children and grand-children.
Yesterday I visited my daughter and her family in their new house. While the grand-kids (ages 4 and 2) and I picked up some debris left in the yard from a prior tenant, we saw several baby garden spiders. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am absolutely terrified of spiders! When my grand-daughter (4) screamed and yelled "kill it Gramma, kill it", I stopped short. She had obviously already learned this from me - I was already failing in my duty to "make things better". Instead of running away, freaking out or killing the spiders, I said, "Don't be afraid, they are just all excited about springtime and looking for a new home, too". Who better to hear this alternative reaction from than the one who would normally "freak out". We watched the spiders jumping away from our activities and I was happy about the choice I had made.
This isn't so different from other choices. Quite often, I see people who are "new" to Paganism or Witchcraft quickly tossing out the "old stuff that didn't work for them" and almost spitting at it with disgust (I've done it myself) - so very similar to what the children of dysfunctional families do - yet, there will come a time when a person realizes that in order to start loving another thing, they do not have to begin hating the previous...such is true also for me - within my life, relationships and even my own Christian/Catholic past.
I'm a little bit wiser today than yesterday, but I still don't have all the answers. I still don't do it all "right" but I realize that I don't have to "hate" another religion or its' followers in order to love my own. I will try harder to realize when something I'm posting - or saying - might bring nothing but defensive, hurtful feelings from those who are feeling "attacked". Meanwhile, I do still like Jesus - even though I don't know exactly who he is or if he was even a real man. I've always felt drawn to him, as the person that he was portrayed to be. This does not make me any "less a Pagan or Witch". Just like the baby spiders seeing the world for the first time, we're all just on a mission "searching for home". So, regardless of what you are celebrating this Easter (if you celebrate at all), or from "where" your traditions have originated, I wish you blessings on this special day.
Inspired by her Native American roots and Bradbury lineage, Polly Taskey is a writer and grandmother in the northern USA. She shares her wisdom and pagan interests through Pagan by Design and The Moonlit Grove.