The Spiritual Meaning Behind Passover and Easter

This year is different than any other year. As I explained in my book on 2020 as well as prior emails, the numerology underlining this year is 4 (death in Chinese) and 22 (Master Builder). Out of death will rise the building of a new world. This idea is supported by the ancient holidays we are celebrating around the world in the next few weeks: Passover (April 7/8); Easter (April 12 and for Orthodox Greek April 19). However, for some of us the deep spiritual meaning of these holidays is as Salman Rushdie said, "buried, like so many of the earth's marvels, beneath the dust of habit." Let's take a mythological and mystical tour and review these festivities in a different light. And since we are starting with light, let's begin with their Astrological origin: the Spring Equinox. 

Spring Equinox:
There are four holidays sacred in Astrology. In the natal chart they manifest as the Ascendant (rising sign), Descendant (relationship sign), Midheaven (career sign) and Imum Coeli (family sign). In the year they appear as the two equinoxes and two solstices. Many of the most important religious holidays fall around these four cardinal points and among them are Passover and Easter.  

The most scared of all these cardinal points is the equinox of March 20/21, which for the Sumerians and Babylonians, the inventors of astrology, marked the new year. By the way, in the bible, God is "quoted" telling Moses to officiate the first new moon after the equinox as the new year. In the Northern Hemisphere, where astrology, as well as the most religions originated, the spring equinox signaled the end of winter and the beginning of a new cycle of life. The days grow longer as the nights shrink. Life, which pretended to die during winter, resurrects. The barley and other grains sprout and hope returns to the people who might have starved in the cold winter. Mother Nature dresses in her finest garments and returns to her benevolent form. In other words, we made it alive  to the next year. To commemorate the transition from the slavery and pain of winter into the freedom of spring, our ancestors started spinning and weaving stories to dress these days with meaning.  


Passover: Exodus - Movement of the People
According to Jewish tradition, about 3300 years ago, Moses, adhering to his "call to action" presented by a talking bush, liberated his people from slavery in Egypt, and led them to their Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. It does not matter that there is no evidence that such an exodus ever took place. Just to be clear, there are also no tangible proves to our existence, in spite of the many attempts of epistemologists to assert that we are real. Remember, myths are true stories that never happened. Anyway, the story of Passover is another narration that explains the passage from winter to spring, from slavery to liberation, from winter-blues to spring elation.

The story can be read through the spiritual and psychological lenses. All of us are symbolized in the story of Exodus by the Hebrews: slaves, unaware, sleeping in our ignorance, toiling without end, and for what? to build pyramids for rich people? We cry for help but we are locked in cycles, trapped in patterns that repeat themselves: falling in love with married men, always getting into fights with bosses, getting sick right before a breakthrough etc. The Hagada that is read every Passover (Jesus was reading it in his Last Supper as well) states that "in each generation, we all must see ourselves as though we personally came forth from Egypt.” That means we are all slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt and every year in spring we must free ourselves. Egypt in Hebrew is Mitzraim, which means "straits," as in a narrow, confined place. Who is Pharaoh? The word is actually Greek but it is a translation of the original meaning in Ancient Egyptian for "great house." Pharaoh is your ego, the great house of your soul. These patterns that hold us back, these chains that make us repeat mistakes, these fears that keep us from out true potential, are represented by Pharaoh. The land of Egypt is the area in our lives where these patterns and blocks block us the most. Maybe relationships? Maybe your health? Maybe in your career or your family?



 And the LORD said: 'I have surely seen the affliction of My people that are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their pains; and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; (Exodus 3:7-8)



Maybe God is light years away and it took him about 210 years to finally decided the cries are unbearable and something needs to be done. He grooms Moses to the task, someone who understands the ego (grew up as the Prince of Egypt) yet born to the slaving Hebrews, in other words, he is one of us. God gives him a rod, a staff of many wonders. If Moses was a woman, she would have been given a broom. The staff is a symbol of the spinal cord, the Kundalini that rises (like in Mercury's Caduceus) from the tip of the spine to the cortex and enlighten us. Yes, magic is real, you just have to use your imagination.

Moses represents our higher-self, our inner guardian angel, the park of God within us. The voice of our intuition, unbound by reason or logic or the need to be proven. The divine part of us that transforms water into blood, or as Jesus preferred, water into wine. Same color, different taste. During the month of Nisan (miracles), on the first full moon after the equinox, when the moon travels in Libra (sign of peace) opposite to the sun's transit in Aries, the ram, that is when the shepherd liberates us. Passover takes place and the time of wizardry and magic begins. 

Where is Moses leading us? To the land of (oat) Milk and (raw) Honey. The Promised Land is Spring. The fixed sign of Spring is Taurus, the sign of the cow. It is also the time when flowers bloom and the bees return to their honey making. The Promised-Land symbolizes what we can become if we free ourselves from the blocks, obstacles, and patters of our fears and insecurities. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of dying, fear of poverty, fear of being alone. Ok, you get it. 

Now, lets take a look at one specific monumental Passover that took place about 1900 years ago...

Easter - The Goddess and her Son
The Last Supper was a Passover dinner. I know, for some people around the world it is still a shock. A kind of cultural cognitive-dissonance. "Wait, what? Jesus was a jew?" Apparently he was. A hummus eating, Torah reading, Hebrew and Aramaic speaking Jew. And as such he would not miss a Passover meal. He was most likely sharing the spiritual meaning behind the story of Exodus, when forces around him conspired to arrest the rebel rousing jew who told people that God does not need to smell the burnt offering of animals coming from the temple to be pleased and relaxed. In other words, he threatened the very fabric of what made Jerusalem a thriving economy. It is as if someone today tries to take Wall Street from New York. And you know what happened next in the story, arrest, trial, another trial, crucifixion on Friday and resurrection on Sunday. Jesus, is a direct continuation of Moses' theme and story. He was a sort of Moses 2.0. And so, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday, that comes after the first full moon (Passover) after the equinox. The Greek Orthodox church celebrates a week later since they are still holding on to the ancient Julian calendar.

Jesus represents, like Moses, our higher-self, who is sacrificed by the fears, addictions, patterns represented by our ego. But even if the ego places the higher self in a cave or a cage, during this magical times of spring, in three days, it resurrects even more mighty. Just like Gandalf the Grey falls into the abyss and returns Gandalf the White, more powerful than before. These next two weeks, in spite or maybe because of what is happening around the world, we too can die as humans and resurrect as a better version of ourselves - divine, godlike wizards.

So why bunnies and egg? Why is it called Easter? Well, for this we need to turn left and go back. Left, so we can reach the divine goddess and back so we can travel further beyond the Age of Aries. 

As you can see above, most likely, the name Easter comes from the goddess of spring, Eostre, Ostara, Austra and the many other ways one can spell the unpronounceable name of a goddess. Many mythologies speak of the goddess and her son/lover and their somewhat challenging relationship. Innana (also called Ishtar) and Tammuz; Cybele and Attis; and lastly Maria and Jesus. The goddess has to retrieve her son/lover from the underworld. Just as Mother Nature must rescue the Green Man from the slumber of winter. 

Jacob Grimm Deutsche in his Mythologie, writes "Eástre seems to have been the divinity of the radiant dawn, of up-springing light, a spectacle that brings joy and blessing, whose meaning could be easily adapted by the resurrection-day of the christian’s God.” Dawn banishing the night as spring brings about longer days and shorter nights. The bunnies (fertility) and eggs (new beginnings) have always been associated with the goddess and in spite (or maybe because) of the church's attempts to discourage the worship of the goddess, crept into the celebration of Easter in many places around the world. Well, why be so possessive about holidays and celebrations? The people want bunnies, let them have it! The kids want to paint eggs and search for them in the garden, so be it. 

Conclusion:
The next two weeks, all the way up to the New Moon in Taurus (April 22/23), we have Moses, Jesus, Gandalf, and the rest of the superheroes (caped or otherwise), higher-selves, guardian angels on our side. We are transiting in the month of Nisan, the month of miracles, where we get a glimpse of our true full potential. As individuals as well as a society, we can step up and assume our godlike creative abilities and better our lives personally and globally. As you eat your Matzos, or decorate your eggs,  or just meditate on the full-moon in Libra (April 7-8) try to embody the exodus myth and liberate yourself from inner and outer slavery.

Wishing you happy festivities, from Los Angeles, the city of (guardian) angels.

gahl