Mrs. Marsha Johnson wrote about this on her list, for those of you who are not members of list, please go sign up here: email@example.com. This is a lovely perspective on celebrating Easter in the Waldorf Home, even if you are not Christian.
Here is what Mrs. Johnson wrote:
“As Easter approaches, many people begin to wonder about the role of this festival in their homes….memories of traditional religious practices resurface, concerns about melding two streams of traditions often arise, we wonder about the seemingly cruel aspects to the Christian history of Jesus, affixed to the cross of wood, a far more violent and cruel story than any Grimm’s tale, really.
How do we, as parents and adults in 2010, recognize the fundamental need for the sacred in our lives, in our children, in our communities? A need as deep as hunger, as real as weather, as great as other basic human needs.
Many turn to the voracious maw of the commercial devils, waiting with open grasping bony fingers to take attention and focus into their own mad schemes of materialism and self-gratification…buying gifts, buying toys, buying or even making a literal mountain of things to add into the already present mountain of things that occupy every square inch of giant Mc-Mega style homes. Store windows, mail order, on line, shopping screams at us to purchase our festival happiness and then we sit, in the discarded packaging, wondering where the Normal Rockwell moment went.
Children need to feel the divine, to see the sacred, to experience the feeling that reverence has value, that we can ‘perceive’ the invisible power of the cosmos, that we are held indeed by the larger impossibly infinite unknown, the sacred.
How can you help your children, your class, your community to feel this sacred allowance, this space dedicated to the ‘temple’, the room that has been allotted and set aside for the ‘shrine’? Shall we rise above the commercial and the material and create a real home for the sacred in our festivals and in our homes?
Yes, we can do this. We can take a small table and cover it with the seasonal colors, for Easter, using soft chick yellows and golds, along with fresh lily purples and whites, and we can drape that small table and add a few elements that remind us of the events hand, times remembered, perhaps a few small wooly lambs, or carefully made beeswax lilies with green leaves, a small vase with a few easter egg bright tulips, some small dishes filled with dirt and wheat grass planted, and a candle, rising, in a small candle holder…here we can place a tiny dish of thorns perhaps taken from the rose bush, along with a few hips left over, bright red, from last fall, that help us visually recall that nothing comes without great striving and challenges in this life, nothing is sewn together without a few pokes from a sharp sticker, we can accept this situation in a visual sense without lengthy verbosity, feeling inherently that the soft wooly lambs and chicks recognize the sharp thorns of the rose….
Creating a special space, and then before supper, to gather in the soft dusky time of eve, to stand before this space and light the candle and quietly speak of old Easters, remembered customs, those people who made it all happen, how it was to find a hand made sugar egg with a scene inside on the table every Easter morning, how it was to rise before sunrise to go to the service on the hill in the dark, how it felt to sit with the Passover table and how grand-dad made everyone laugh with his antics, how sweet the dishes were, how the country home or the city apartment resonated with our love and those loved ones, now out of sight and away in the starry heavens…
Besides the sacred table or corner, you can also create some rhythms with routines that fill that need in your family during these special times of year: a walk through a deep forest at a certain time, a visit to a recognized holy space or shrine, a grotto, a labyrinth, a special geographic location that has meaning in the greatest sense of the world. Holding hands in a circle and saying aloud a small prayer, a verse, a song, a poem, giving space to individual contributions and allowing children to really feel part of such a ceremony will have positive life long consequences.
Bringing love and light to the children, even for a few minutes, is just as important in parenting as are food, shelter, clothing, encouragement, guidance, financial support, and so on. Doing nothing is really a kind of deprivation in my point of view. Take responsibility as the parents of that child or those children and make some decisions about your plan to provide for the sacred and then commit to those traditions and keep them alive for your dear ones.
Not much, really, to do as some kind of onerous task. Just gathering, holding hands, lighting a candle and a simple verse, can allow the child to feel closely held by the eternal arms of the sacred.
Hope you enjoyed that perspective!”
I added the bolded areas; and I hope you too enjoyed that. It is worth contemplating for the next 40 days, this time of renewal between Easter and Ascension: what is your spiritual path? How do you show this to your children? How is the sacred manifested in your life?