Hello my goddess!
(OK, I realize that Easter is over in just a couple of hours but I really wanted to take some photos this morning before sending this letter out to you!)
Did you celebrate Easter with baskets of painted eggs and chocolate Easter Bunnies?
My Easter this year in Spain was sadly Chocolate Bunnyless.
Painted eggs? Not a single one in sight.
(Not that I don’t like chocolate. Nor do I have anything personal against bunnies. Nor eggs, for that matter.)
What did I do?
I walked up the big hill to the tiny pueblo to watch the Semana Santa* processions.
Thursday night at midnight there was a procession.
Friday morning at noon there was a procession.
Friday night at midnight there was a procession.
Nothing. Nada. No parades.
(Jesus finally got to take a day off from all this exhausting parading around. Must have been those labor unions. Finally allowing Jesus a day off! It was a rough night for him on Thursday, lugging that heavy cross for miles on end without stop. By Friday he was in great pain. Good thing he got that one day of rest in between. Maybe Jesus even got a chance to hang out at the beach like all the other young adults his age around here during Spring Break.)
Sunday. (Today!) Jesus was out there in the procession again at noon. This time he had finally risen from the dead and got to parade around standing up.
(Note to my American friends: When I use the word “parade”, you might have images of floats and beauty queens waving left and right.
These holy week processions have nothing to do with that.)
If you are confused, let’s back up and allow me to add some background info here.
Spain is traditionally a Catholic country.
The religious holidays (Easter, in this case) are serious stuff.
Statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary are taken out of the church during Holy Week and paraded all around the tiny village streets for all to see. This is done all over Spain, not just in my crazy little town. You also have the option to watch the processions live on TV if you prefer not to venture beyond the living room sofa.
In our tiny town, you actually get to walk together with the entire procession, not just hang out on the sidelines like a lame bystander. Marching next to statues of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary while having processional music blasting in your ears is incredibly moving. The music is often quite somber and eerie. I never fail to get a huge lump in my throat every year while marching along with the statues and the musicians.
Right. So with all this parading around, I had an A-HA moment this week.
Aren’t the Virgin Mary and the great Mother goddess related?
(Have I gone bonkers? Perhaps…)
So here’s the theory:
The Virgin Mary is really just a transformation of the Great Earth Goddess.
I started thinking about the similarities between the Virgin Mary and the ancient Mother Goddess.
Statues of the The Great Earth Goddess were found about 24,000 – 22,000 BC.
(Did you just read that? Twenty four THOUSAND! That was not a typo.)
The great mother goddess was worshiped for years and years and years and years.
And years and years and years before that. (Can you even imagine 24,000 years? I certainly can’t.)
And one fine day in very recent history, Christianity comes along and tries to banish worship of the great earth goddess. Actually, Christianity was not able to stamp out the veneration of the great mother goddess. I’m supposing that the great ancient goddess morphed into the Virgin Mary.
Basically a classic case of “If you can’t beat them, join them.”
Don’t you think?
I’ve actually been to these procession many times over the course of about 10 years but only this morning did it occur to me that the MOTHER of Christ is truly important, alongside Jesus. The Virgin Mary is in every single procession along with Jesus. Yet isn’t Easter supposed to be all about Jesus and how he died for our sins? Jesus is definitely the protagonist here yet there is not a single Catholic church in the world (that I know of!) where the Virgin Mary isn’t displayed as prominently as her son. All this also got me to wondering, “What ever happened to the father of Christ?” The last time Joseph is seen, Jesus is 12 years old. Most people seem to agree that Joseph probably died sometime after that, even if there is not direct mention of his death. Funny how Joseph is almost non-existent beyond the Bethlehem scene during Christmas, whereas the Virgin Mary, the mother figure, is so prominent in Christian rites, traditions, and the arts. She is a secondary figure, yep, ’tis true, yet no one can deny her omnipresence. Doesn’t it only make sense that she would have morphed from the Great Earth Goddess of ancient times?
*Semana Santa literally means “Holy Week”. In other latitudes, it’s known as Easter or Spring Break
Here are the photos from this morning. Enjoy!
What did YOU do today? Eat too many bunnies? Do you think the Great Goddess and the Virgin Mary are related? What about chocolate bunnies and goddesses? Please share your bunny story in the comments below!