Easter eggs for the soul
Easter has different meanings for all of us. For me it represents hope, brightness and a nod towards summer. My husband and daughter are Catholic, for them Easter is the most important festival in the Catholic calendar, more so than Christmas. This led me to consider how we honour our spirit or soul.
I was reared in the Church of England, church on Sunday and even joined the choir. My childhood bestie was the vicar’s daughter so maybe this had a part to play. I didn’t grow up feeling fearful of God, entirely the opposite. In childhood, when experiencing difficulties, I used prayer as a way of self soothing. I also recall viewing prayer as a “super boost wish” a vehicle to ask for “stuff,” accompanied by declarations and promises of ‘good behaviour.’ No Easter was complete without watching Robert Powell’s “Jesus of Nazareth” on the telly, which would be guaranteed to reduce me to unfettered sobbing.
I no longer regularly practice organised religion, I am however, happy to scoff the chocolate eggs and take the bank holidays.
My grandad appeared to have distaste for religious practice, however maintained a strong belief system. He also vehemently struggled with financially supporting places of worship or religious leaders. Interestingly though, in his final days he was insistent that the vicar be called to his bedside. He often stated, “There are no atheists in the trenches.”
There is a road in my hometown of Keighley stretching for approximately a mile that houses, a C of E church, Catholic church, born again Christian rooms, Quaker House, Christian science, Mosque and Buddha land. This reflects the towns textile industry history and the influx of workers from diverse denominations and cultures.
A friend of mine is probably the most spiritual person I know, yet, has no belief in conventional faiths and religion. She is forthcoming about her spiritual path and how she was lead from Eastern practices to then embrace Shamanism.
Celebrities can often prompt a following of a faith, who can forget Hollywood being awash with the red string bracelets of Kaballah or the infamous Scientologists?
In a consumer society there is often a need to nurture our soul and spirit, which prompts searching. There are so many options for meeting this need. People often elect to embrace a hotch potch of practices rather than being bound to one set of doctrines.
I’m a firm believer that honouring your spirit and soothing your soul can take many forms, Yoga, Tai Chi, Meditation to name a few and doing so is beneficial to emotional wellbeing and fulfilment.
Fear is a big player for some in organised religion. I was christened at 6 years old, this came about following my dad’s death in a car accident and my granny’s repeated plea’s linked to fears for my immortal soul.
Historically, religious leaders used to summon feelings somewhere in between fear and respect, nowadays there appears to be an acknowledgement of humanity rather than diluted deity. My daughters godfather, however, maintains a sense of fear when talking about nuns. Conversely a friend of mine credits nuns with instilling feminist principles within her and eradicating limiting self beliefs attached to gender.
I’m all for marking and celebrating rites of passage, whether it’s confirmation or bar mitzvah. It’s not coincidental that religious ceremonies are at pivotal points in our lives, births, marriages and deaths. From a social perspective, having your community and loved ones around you at a time of significant change makes perfect sense.
Whatever your faith, beliefs or practice, acceptance and tolerance of others spiritual path is central to feelings of wellbeing and inner peace. Happy Easter!