While you’re all nibbling on chocolate bunnies and hunting for easter eggs, I thought you might enjoy another take on this multidimensional holiday from a 1931 lecture by G. de Purucker, Gnostic scholar:
Easter is a beautiful season of the year. It is not merely a day, it is rather a spiritual idea; indeed, it is an ideal — as it were a breath of the soul of antiquity, which has come down to us, albeit distorted, from far past ages, this soul-breathing of antiquity arising in the inner spiritual life of man. By these words I mean that Easter represents an actual event which occurs annually in the spiritual life of man, because the events of man’s spiritual life faithfully reflect the events that take place in the spiritual life of the world.It is a fact, Brothers, that every great mystical event of the ancient religions and philosophies of the world was commemorated in a feast, in the ancient sense of this word — in a festival such as Easter in Occidental lands now is, and such as was the European original and forerunner of the present-day Easter festival: the Ostara or Eastre, as it was called by different families of the early Germanic inhabitants of the northern European countries. In those lands it took the form of a celebration of the vital forces working in the springtime, when new life is surging through the earth and affecting all earth’s children, when the trees begin to burgeon and the flowers begin to blow, and when a new hope is singing in men’s hearts, representing in men, because derived from the spiritual realms, exactly what appears in the beauteous flowers that in those northern lands Nature then begins to bring forth. . . .
The initiatory cycle, my Brothers, contained the circling year as a symbol of the entire spiritual, intellectual, and psychical life cycle of a human being; and at the four cross periods, composing ‘the cross of the universe,’ as the divine philosopher Plato, the Greek, called it, there took place the four great initiation ceremonies of human existence, representing — what? This first: the “birth” of the new man, of the initiate out of the personal man, the latter living, as Pythagoras put it, a living death, because living merely in the body and in the brain-mind, and usually entirely oblivious of the titanic spiritual forces that make a man really Man.
When the man was thus born, mystically speaking, i. e., when the inner man or initiate arose out of the dead person, he was mystically said to be ‘born’ when this occurred at the time of the winter solstice, which the Christians celebrate as their Christmas Festival. He then entered upon the first stage of his career as an initiate, one who had begun really to know and really to follow the path, that mystic, small, old path which, when faithfully followed, will lead you to the very heart of the universe; for indeed that pathway is your own spiritual being, the inner man of you, the source of all that is great and sublime in mankind — that inner holy spiritual Thing — our spiritual self by which we are linked intimately with the very gods; and it is thus that following this pathway of the spiritual self we enter into cognizance of and become acquainted with the realms and forces of the spiritual universe, which is the cause and the mother of our exterior, physical universe, just precisely as the spiritual man is the cause and the parent of the psycho-physical man. . . .
The first of these initiations, as I have already told you, which was called the birth, took place and takes place at the time of the winter solstice, December 21-22, which Christians now call the Christmas Festival of December 25; and when this new ‘Birth’ occurred, then men said: “Lo! the Christ in man is born”; or, “the inner Buddha is born from within the shell of the neophyte.” As the man lived on, if he had the strength of will and the courage to proceed and to follow the path to the second initiatory stage — no matter how many years this may have taken or now may take — then came the “Easter” of his life, the second great initiation, when the Christ within him was — not born, because that had already taken place — but when the Christ “arose” and took his own stand as a fully developed master, teacher, guide, and leader, of men.
Then came the third stage, that which was commemorated mythologically by so many of the ancient peoples in the festival of the midsummer, of the summer solstice. On June 21-22 began the “trials” of this third stage, and they lasted for fourteen days, beginning at a time when the moon was new and culminating and ending for that period when the moon was full. So was it also at the winter solstice or Christmas Initiation beginning on December 21-22, when the moon was new and ending fourteen days afterwards, when the moon was full. So was it also during the springtime, the spring equinox, the second stage; and so was it again during the autumn period, September 21-22: each of these initiation ceremonies began when, according to the ancient, wonderful, mystical, true astrology, the sun and moon and planets were rightly situated. . . .
The personal man, my Brothers, must be “crucified,” i. e., “slain” — metaphorically speaking — in order that the Christ within you may resurrect or arise. These are not merely pretty words, poetic tropes, quaint figures of speech: I tell you that within each one of you is a Buddha, or as some of the mystical Christians of today phrase it, within every human being there is the immanent Christos — an actual fact. Why not ally yourself with your own inner divinity, with the divinity within you, the real spiritual and intellectual essence of yourself? There, verily, is the source of wisdom; there is the source of all knowledge. In becoming at one with this inner source you attain the great peace, you reach the great quiet, and mighty strength; you touch the vast reservoir where are stored up all the greatest forces of the universe; for the very heart of each one of you, is in actual fact the heart of the universe — a heart which is not localized, which has no place, which is everywhere, but called the heart of the universe because it is the central focus of consciousness of every thing and every entity that exist anywhere. . . .
The pathway of beauty, the pathway of peace and strength, the pathway of the great quiet, is within you — not within the material body, but within the inmost focus of your consciousness. This is the pathway that the great sages and seers of all the ages have taught. Follow that pathway; it will lead you to the heart of the sun, the master and guide of our solar system; and later if you follow it, it will conduct you to a destiny still more sublime. Yet that sublime destiny is only the beginning, only the beginning of something grander; for evolution, growth, expansion of consciousness, go on forever.