To Christians of every sect, Easter is a real and sacred event -- the miraculous triumph of life over death and the promise of a new and transcendent life. Although it is without question the defining moment of the Christian faith, Christians aren't the only ones who need Easter. People of all beliefs, including atheists and agnostics, have much to learn from the Easter archetype.
Contrary to popular opinion, defining a sacred event as an archetype does not relegate it to a pile of fiction. Quite the reverse. Rather, it elevates that event to mythical stature to claim its fundamental contribution to the human experience. An archetype is the original perfect prototype or design from which all like and related forms are derived. Archetypes were present in the human psyche way before religion came along.
Easter is the perfect prototype of triumph over, well...everything. Life over death. Good over evil. Love over hate. Health over sickness. Compassion and rightful action over condemnation and sin. Easter is reflected everywhere in nature and in the indomitable strength and renewal of the human spirit. It is the symbolic event outside of us and within us that transcends all spiritual, mental and material obstacles. Easter teaches us that with enough faith, commitment and courage there is no struggle we cannot meet eye-to-eye and conquer. Easter teaches us that even the most convincing appearances are often deceiving. It teaches us that there is more to life than meets the eye. That even when we think something is completely over it's really just beginning in a new form.
The archetype of Easter dominated the hospital room at my father's death two weeks ago (see my last blog). Even though our human eyes and broken hearts could see that he was dying, we were simultaneously transfixed on his equally apparent birth into another form in another realm. Our father lives on. We can argue whether the resurrection of a human being manifests in physical form or spiritual form or both, but that argument is of little concern to me. Whatever form we manifest by Divine design will be the perfect form. Familiarity isn't the only way forward.
The Easter archetype is well represented by the traditional egg and egg hunts of childhood. No matter our age, we are archetypally wired to seek the prize. Some deeper part of ourselves will always expect it. We will expect it not just because a prophet or two told us what it was and where to find it, but because the Easter archetype lives innately within us, reminding us that we are more than flesh and blood. From the moment Adam's hand touched the earth, Easter was always the plan.
This year, let's roll away the stone from the tomb of at least one crisis or trauma in our lives, rise up and move on. Become empowered. Miracles have a way of arising when we agree to them, make room for them, and participate in their creation. Without Easter there is only death, and yet everywhere we look we see rebirth and renewal. Easter is the eternal truth that's available to everyone.