For those celebrating Easter, both Orthodox and American Easter, they were yesterday! Rarely do these two celebrate on the same day, but this year they were on the same day. When we were children (I am Greek Orthodox), much like the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, our families would gather and go to church late at night — tough for little kids — and right at midnight, the lights in the church would go off and a holy flame was passed throughout the church for all of us to light our white candles. The white candles also had paper cups on them, to insure that the melting wax wouldn’t get on us or our clothes. I must say my mother was very handy at getting wax out of our clothes! I was also witness to only one occasion where a woman’s Easter bonnet caught fire, but which was quickly put out. (We wore Easter bonnets in those days, too). We thought it was funny, but my mother didn’t.
After the lighting ceremony, a beautiful hymn would be sung — several times past midnight — Hristos Anesti Hristos Anesti — meaning Christ has Risen. Then everyone would either head home ‘with their lit candles in the car’ -if you can believe that one — what were they thinking??? And then we’d stay up half the night eating the prepared meal, the home-made Easter Bread with the red egg in the middle and proceed to our favorite activity of what my brother and I and my cousins used to call the Egg Wars where each of us took our very red egg and tried breaking one end or another of the egg being held by the persons at our table. The winner, the egg that didn’t break, had the ‘good luck’ for the year. All hokey I know, but still lovely.
Whether one is Christian, Moslem, or Buddhist, those moments of total light and insight and harmony are beautiful and the memories are even greater. I must say, for we kids, it was ‘how long do we really have to stay up?’ and ‘when do we eat?’, because we were also fasting to take communion, but, in the end, it was about community and togetherness and forty days of saying Hristos Anesti and responding with Aleetheenos Anesti (He has truly risen). So, this week is about taking the energy of the spring season and as Pluto retrogrades on Thursday April 20, it is also about making choices on how to reframe our conscious minds to gain inner peace going forward. Sometimes when Pluto goes retrograde, we are faced with a choice that is challenging, an ending of some kind, or the reality that something must end, in order for something else to grow or start. It can be painful. It might require some serious distillation of what we want versus what we really need as Saturn and Venus square, or, chatter at each other on Saturday. By week’s end, the Moon and Venus line up and with the Sun in Taurus starting on Wednesday April 19, things ease up and spring in the Northern Hemisphere begins again. What new ‘flowers’ will you grow this year?