The Theosophical Forum – April 1936


The cosmic life surrounds us, permeates, flows in and through us. In it we live and move and have our being, as mathematical points so to speak, as little knots and eddies on its tide. As it sinks and its cool fire dims we feel the slowing and recession; as it mounts leaping and expands, the rising sap in tree and flower responds no less ineluctably to its urge and call than the inner tides in man, child that he is of the Universe whose garment is visible Nature, whose pulse is the circling year.

Easter points the second milestone in the sweep of the circling year, symbol that it has always been of the mystic threefold life-cycle of man, spiritual, intellectual and psychical — man, who is learning and growing. The second of the Four Sacred Seasons, Easter, is ushered in with the Spring Equinox, the next evolvement after the mystic 'Birth' at the Winter Solstice. It is the 'resurrection' of the Christ-Spirit in man, the awakening of the Inner Buddha.

The coming of Spring has been heralded with festival and ceremony since long before records were made. The Greek Anthesteria was but a late instance in a nearby land. The word 'Easter' comes from the name of a Pagan goddess, Eastre or Oestara by name, mythical enough save that no shadow is cast except by substance. Time is expert at taking the figures of Leaders, Helpers, Teachers of Humanity and labeling them 'mythical,' the while we freely admit the reality of the institutions they founded, even walk on the bridges which they built. And when the Christian Church — long after the time of Jesus the Christ, who never mentions Easter nor founds any ritual on the idea — felt the need of ceremonial recognition of this sublime and mystical fact of Universal Nature, it adopted this Pagan ceremony (as it had done with Pagan ceremonies before), so that the 'Spring Festival' of earlier peoples became the Easter of today. And today, on little known and secluded portions of the globe, great initiatory ceremonies continue to take place, linking the hurried present with the immemorial past, the past of Egypt, of Aryavarta, with Atlantis itself.

Had we no other evidence of the antiquity of Easter as a special season of the year, one fraught with symbolic meaning, the Easter Egg alone would place it as incredibly ancient, and spiritually sublime, for the egg is a universal symbol. It was revered by prehistoric races to whom the First Cause, nameless in its beginnings, was symbolized as "The mysterious Bird that dropped an Egg into Chaos, which Egg becomes the Universe" — Kalahansa the 'Swan of Eternity,' who lays at the beginning of each mahamanvantara a Golden Egg. So H. P. Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine (I, 359 et seq. and other places), to whose chapter on 'The Mundane Egg' the reader may be referred. From the mysteries hymned in the ritual of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, through the ancient Mysteries of the Far and the Hither East, down to the Dionysiac and other Mysteries of Greece, the Egg is never absent as a revered and sacred symbol. And of what?

Of the germinating inner spiritual life within every being, with its apparent self-generation, its sublime promise, its unfailing message of hope. As Ra the mighty one reposes in the Egg of Seb when he crosses, resplendent, 'to the other shore'; as Brahma emerges from the egg resting on a lotus which floats on the waters of Space; as Eros-Phanes is born of the divine Egg, so the World-Egg lies fruitful and waiting, in the deeps of Ginnungagap — Maya. It is a far cry indeed from days when this symbolism was breathed in with the common air and known to all, to the present with its colored eggs for breakfast and its 'egg-rolling' child's play later on the lawn!

Yet it is something that the symbols persist, even though with meaning as concealed as ever the phantom-form of Chemis, within his egg waiting Horus-Apollo. It is something that, even though religion leaves it out, this archaic symbol is unforgotten in the gentler if smaller cycles of domestic life, and that the custom of exchanging Easter eggs as gifts still lingers in some sections to bestow its gracious and kindly touch.

The Wheel of Life turns on and what is now enshadowed will again rise into the light. From a revered observance celebrating the resurrection of One Divine Man from the tomb, Easter will become, in its own good time, a period of rejoicing in the resurrection of the Divine that is in every man, from the tomb of the personal self. Then will this second of the Four Sacred Seasons be observed as holily, and by all, learned and unlearned, young and old. Man will no longer be shamed by Nature, but with each recurring Spring will match her universal burgeoning, her infinite largesse of growth and beauty, her kindly dispensation, with his own.

Theosophical University Press Online Edition