Easter is an Empty Ritual, Just Like the Fights at Berkeley
From The Conjure House
Easter: a day normally celebrated by the recollection of Christian myth, the painting of eggs, and the wide scale eating of pork in clear defiance of Judaic law. This holiday is obliquely about rebirth or resurrection, whether a simple celebration of springtime or the foolhardy belief that the energetic mass behind all things chose this day to look upon earth and scream “deuces.”
Christians believe the physical embodiment of All That is Holy departed the planet in a ghostly haze, no doubt shrouded in UFO’s and spinning wheels, because ultimately it is we who killed him. But could it be? Wouldn’t God have known he was going to be killed, perhaps setting it up that way all along? Wasn’t It in charge of the very atoms coursing through It’s disciples, influencing their probability fields by the simple act of being near them?
Regular people do that, no word on how much more intense the Double Slit experiment might have been in front of a deity. Dear Gods, what if the Christians are right about all this “free will” business, our universe nothing more than the latest copy of Grand Theft Auto for God to fuck around in?
Perhaps in spite of the almost Lovecraftian implications Easter is commonly regarded by Christians as a “happy” day, yet even at a table of family members the unconscious pull of mythic religion leans in; weird whispering that we too are just as fallen as the flesh roasted and cooked before us reaching into that reptilian part of the brain that speaks in symbols and shoots out magic in between wet dreams.
That’s about the only place it can go, because the great majority of Americans are so hopelessly adrift and vapid they stand little chance of groking a Dr. Seuss book, let alone a mythic drama.
We are gathering with friends and family on a secular level to at least celebrate life, a life increasingly short, brutal, and nasty. We will revel in the sense of “freedom” we have if we’re off work while making sure to make car payments, and if we end up having to be “on the clock” we’ll console ourselves with the fact we’re at least making money, the same money that grows progressively more worthless.
Anybody else remember when two jobs wasn’t normal?
The truly religious should perhaps bear the deepest marks of shame and if they had any spine they’d go out to the nearest Wal-Mart and publicly whip themselves bloody. They believe that God, the literal Divine Creator, came down to Earth and ended up being killed by us, followed by a spiritual exodus that proved the immortality of the soul and the falsehood of the realm of Maya.
People SAY these things, but they don’t really believe them. Today they’ll still gladly support the troops that will do a fair amount of killing in places very close to where Jesus actually lived, they will buy and spend as greedily as any money-changers near a temple could, and each one will hold on to their fleshy, mortal coil at the cost of anybody around them.
They tell me things are changing, hope is right around the corner, a Leftist twinge on that ole’ time religion.
Fights rage at Berkeley, so what? Berkeley’s combat has already become ritualized and in effect necromantic: it goes on because it must, a reanimated body of a time once unique in space. It is a place where you do a certain thing, the political equivalent of any red light district. Give it ten more years and it’ll become a holiday, a “quaint local festival” where natives with differing opinions would go to settle differences with fists and bats. There will be hotels and restaurants where spectators can enjoy the local flair and feel like they’re apart of something, t-shirts sold on corners, and in perhaps 50 years it’ll get its own signage from the city council to mark the places where teeth met pavement as “a historic landmark.”
Look what they did to Tombstone, Harlem, Gettysburg, Haight Ashbury, and Fort Sumter and tell me any of this matters. Tickets to Burning Man, once a “temporary autonomous zone,” are now $500-$1,000 a pop. You’re going to PAY to experience the empty shell of where artistic freedom used to be!
What are we celebrating today? A Christian myth? A reanimated pagan rite?
No friends, we celebrate because we want to, because we are told to, and because we all desperately want to feel connected to SOMETHING. We get together because we enjoy ourselves. That’s it. Everything else is window dressing for the great self-aware fever dream we’ve taken to calling “people.”
Easter is just another example that meaning can barely be held beyond one generation, fecund fertility symbols mixing freely with a story about fallibility of flesh, all covered in chocolate eggs that were buy one get one at the grocery store.
There is meaning of course, somewhere in between the symbols, and only the Wise have the eyes to see it. The Masons knew people would join for political reasons or “just for fun,” and made sure to keep the rituals intact so that 1 out of 100 might get what was really being said. Meet a Scottish Rite Mason in a Blue Lodge(the term for a non-esoteric lodge) and you can see the difference right around the eyes, a quiet sense of knowing surrounded in a sea of shit.
Mystery still stalks the world, as real as it did in the Pagan Days of Lore or any Jesus Myth. Maybe these days serve to remind us there is real, undeniable weirdness out there that can be brought up with the right words and touched, an unshakable knowledge that all is not as it appears. There is no doubt SOMETHING happened with out there in the desert of Judea, just like SOMETHING is being tapped into with all the children hunting for eggs and celebrating around bunnies. When the first fight broke out at Berkeley, in response to that first riot, that was Gnosis. People knew, on a cellular level, that something different was in the air. Something unnameable had changed. Everything else, every other battle, has just been chasing that feeling.
So too with Easter.
Take heart comrades, and enjoy your dinners. Enjoy you time with friends and family not because it’s what you are supposed to do but because you actually are. And if you’re not? Well, pull out a bottle and get hammered. Summon an ancient fertility deity. Invoke Jesus and jam nails through your palms. Stop chasing the forms of what life, celebration, and political meaning are supposed to be and start crafting your own. Skip the choreographed fight and find where the Nazis are staying. Trash their hotels, slash their tires. Wait lurking in alleys until the fights are over, and when the enemy is weak and tired on the way home pounce on him with fresh strength and vigor. Go where the cops aren’t and really raise some hell.
Stop focusing and celebrating a resurrection where there already was one and get down to building one in your life right now: magically, spiritually, and politically.