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What is Easter to a Heretic? | A Christian Witch Discusses Spring, Renewal, and Resurrection

This is admittedly a wild holiday, much wilder than I ever gave it credit for.


Christian Witch, Witchcraft, Mysticism, Magic, Crystals, Bible, Incense, Folklore, Sara Raztresen, God, Spirituality, Tarot, Occult, Evangelical, Demons, Sin, Danger, Possession, Idolatry, Discernment, Church, Solomonic Magic, Occult, Left Hand Path, Demonolatry, Demonology, Corinthians, Paul

I never liked Easter.


As a kid, there was something about it that just irritated me, and maybe the entire six Lenten weeks beforehand where my mom refused to pack my favorite ham sandwich for lunch on Fridays had something to do with it. Nonetheless, Easter was... meh. The pastels. The weather that looks like it should be warm but is usually just... damp and clammy and cold (especially if Easter happened in March). The weird taste of the edges of spiral ham. The sheer amount of eggs we'd eat that day. The potica that, for a long time, my mom just... did not get right.


(We think she was using her grandma's sourdough method with instant yeast dough. You know how much you have to knead sourdough? Enough to turn instant yeast dough into a dry, sad brick. In this case, a dry, sad brick filled with rum-flavored walnut sludge. Luckily, mom figured it out now, and I learned, too, but oof, those early days.)


But I digress. My point is: aside from hunting for Easter eggs (which... was really mostly fun at home, because having to compete for eggs with my youngest cousins was a headache even when I was five), Easter was never as dear a holiday to me as Christmas. Christmas, with all its gold and red, and its month-long festivities and cheer and joy, and the sheer magic that seemed to make up every crystal snowflake—that was the holiday that captured my heart from the time I was a child. And I could never forget the thrill of seeing the tree empty at Christmas eve, only to be bursting with gifts the next day, like some Yuletide bumper crop, some last chance for me to get all the things I'd thought about all year long and play with them all before school started again in the new year.


You might notice, though, where my focus was: gifts. Chocolate. Color schemes. Weather. Games. And that's because, in the first ten or so years of my life, I was less a Christian and more just a kid.


Sure, mom dragged me to church (until I was old enough to decide, with some firmness, I wouldn't go anymore), and sure, I'd gotten baptized, learned the basics at CCD, all that—but God, was religion boring when I was young. It's why I don't believe in exposing kids to religion as children. At least, not this way. Kids don't get it. Kids don't care.


Some baby was born? Cool. Let me open the biggest gift first!


Some guy died for us? Okay—can I have my chocolate bunny, now?


Obviously, though, if we understand that time progresses linearly, then the time I was a kid has long decayed, like an apple in the back of my fridge, into the time we stand in now: where I'm an adult whose knees scream after sitting cross-legged for too long and who cannot function on anything less than seven hours of sleep (but often has to scrape by with about six anyway). And it's around this time that I think a lot of what my mom says: that spring is her favorite season. Whereas I'm an autumn girl all day long because the sweat and soupy air of summer make me want to bury myself, my mom finds that the first signs of life popping up after months of biting cold and and ash-gray skies are worth a lot more than that crisp autumn scent.


And I gotta admit: I'm starting to see her point—both from a practical perspective (I also hate the cold and want to go to the farm and buy new seedlings for my fourth straight misadventure in gardening) as well as a spiritual perspective (2023 doesn't really feel gone until winter is fully over and things are alive again, and it makes sense why so many cultures pick the first day of spring to mark their new year). Moreover, after a wonderful Easter yesterday, too, I'm really starting to come to appreciate arguably the most important Christian holiday, and all the things it stands for.


So let me tell you a little bit about it.


Easter, the Christian Spring Revival and Moment of Triumph


Yesterday was a lovely day for an Easter celebration in my area. Sixty degrees, sunny, with such bright blue skies. Walking into the church, I noticed little sprigs of grape hyacinth and bright yellow daffodils, and walking back to my car, my mother pointed out the five-pointed periwinkle flowers nestled in the roots of a big tree that'd torn up the sidewalk. Then later, I saw the first dandelions of the season, little pops of sunshine in patchy, winter yards. The earth is thawing, the plants sprouting, and the weather warming. If that doesn't scream spring, nothing does. But as this next Easter came and went, with a beautiful service full of joy and trumpets and a little bit of goofing on Peter for, you know, being Peter (he... literally just left Mary Magdalene crying at that tomb after she went to tell them Jesus was missing, like?) as well as a whole day of my family eating, drinking, listening to traditional Slovenian music, goofing around, and generally having a really nice time together, I found myself enjoying Easter like I never had before.


That's because this year, it occurred to me exactly what the whole Lenten season was about. Obviously, I knew the surface level reasons and the for this time of year—the reflection, the giving up meat and some other thing as a fast and sacrifice, the repentance for our sins, yada yada—but the deeper point of that really only became apparent with the understanding of where Lent appears in our calendar: in the tumultuous, trying times just before the dawn of spring. I mean, think about it: modern neopaganism has Imbolc, a day where the ick and darkness of winter is purified in honey, flame, and flowers. The Christian cognate, Candlemas, is about Mary's purification per Jewish custom after the birth of a baby boy—but that's about Mary, not the average person like Imbolc is.


Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday sometime in February, however, is that cognate for the actual believers. And it doesn't last only one day, but forty, because we know that sometimes, the grime of Winter—be it physically, with the dark and cold, or spiritually, with all the wear and tear we've taken during the last year—is a little harder to get rid of than one day allows for. It was this year that I really understood what it meant to have forty days for this instead of one, and that's that we are given forty days of grace. You don't feel purified of Winter (AKA darkness, death, and all the old you that you want to leave in the last year) after one day of prayer and fasting and reflection on Ash Wednesday? Okay. Try again for another day. Then another day. Then another. Then on Fridays, abstain from meat and focus on Jesus, and what He told us to aim for: loving God and one another. Then keep trying, every day, chipping Winter off a little bit at a time. Then bury it all, finally, on Good Friday, commit yourself to walking forward—and really come alive on Easter.


One idea from the songs sung at Easter Mass this year really knocked me upside the head: that Jesus died and was buried like a wheat seed, sleeping in the ground until green wheat shot up, unexpected, from the spring earth. When we look around in the winter, we see only barren, frozen land, but suddenly and seemingly from nowhere come all these plants the moment the ground thaws. That's because of all those seeds from last year that fell into that earth that we didn't see. Likewise, even as we were so barren spiritually, all frozen and cold and dark, there were seeds for new hope, new resolve, and new commitment lying there in us, waiting for us to slowly thaw the earth of our hearts over this season of Lent and pop up on Easter. Seeing all those flowers yesterday really capped that idea off for me and put me in the headspace to soak up Easter and all its springtime feelings in a way I simply never used to do, because this was never a holiday that I vibed with before this.


But in a world where this kind of grace Easter brings is needed—that defeat of death, and that spit in the face to the unjust systems of the world that would try to bury a Man only to not realize they were really burying seeds of change—it's a holiday that, theologically, I find myself vibing with even more than Christmas (and that's saying something, because Christmas is still my favorite overall just for the month long merrymaking the season encourages). This was the month where the sermons I wrote for folks to share with me on Tiktok and YouTube hit the hardest, and this was the year where so many themes and people just happened to line up.


I mean, after all, is there not a little bit of the story of Jesus also in the story of Palestine? And those like Aaron Bushnell? Is Jesus's story not one that repeats periodically, showing us the many ways that the ideas of bold resistance to cruelty and victory over death and hardship and transformation, encouragement through love can be replicated?


This Lent, I learned a lot about myself. Mainly, I learned a lot about the things that trigger my temper, as the thing I was trying to do this Lent was learn to be more patient with people (and especially with my boyfriend, who unfortunately deals with my hairpin trigger temper often when my overloaded schedules starts going sideways). While I'm certainly not perfect now after forty days, I am a lot more conscious of the things that set me off and how I can pause and breathe before I have a whole panic attack. That's a win in my eyes. But this Lent, I also learned a lot about Jesus, and God, and how when you throw caution to the wind—letting yourself really get into things wholeheartedly—you can just internalize the message of this Easter season all the more.


I decided, to hell with feeling shy or goofy, and I sang the songs at church. Talked to people. Went outside my comfort zone. Wrote the sermons I felt unqualified to write. Sent out hundreds of copies of Discovering Christian Witchcraft. Reflected, repeatedly, on what it is Jesus was trying to show us with His words and miracles, His death and resurrection. Genuinely rejoiced at the idea that Jesus was back, and that through His return, all of us had shared in God's one last final joke played on the world's wicked institutions (like imperialism, war, and abuse we see in everything from churches to governments). And through all of that effort and thought and conversation and vulnerability, I found my faith blooming in a whole new way: seeing Easter not as just another holiday to get through that had an icky color palette, but a rallying point, a refocusing tool, for what matters: the growth of community, the defense of true justice, the radiant rebellion of love against a messed up world.


Genuinely? I've never been so excited about Easter before. I've never felt so good about it, either. And I hope everyone knows this biggest thing I learned this year: that your salvation or your enlightenment or your unification with God/Source/the Universe, whatever you want to call it, has nothing to do with what god you align yourself with (or what denomination of Christianity). It has, instead, everything to do with how you look at your fellow human being. I'll leave you with this idea to challenge you, as it's always going to challenge me, going forward from this Easter:


  • Can you see yourself as human being that is worthy of love, and then project that out onto everyone else, too?

  • Can you look at your fellow human being, no matter who they are or what they believe in, and want to see them taken care of?

  • Can you accept that for all to have some, then some will have to give up all? And that all of us will have to work together to make sure we're all taken care of?

  • Can you embrace the concept of social responsibility, where even if you've suffered or had to do something that wasn't fair, that you can still work towards a world where others don't have to suffer that way? Where your understanding of fairness isn't "tit for tat," but ending cycles and breaking curses? Where we all aren't hoarding comfort and wealth, but sharing it with one another?

  • Can you commit to seeing a table brimming with abundance that all are invited to eat at, even if not all contributed (or were able to contribute) to it?


Please think about those questions, because they're part of the way to the peace and enlightenment we're all looking for, I think. This is the Way, the Truth, and the Life; this is the Word of God: love God, and love one another as Jesus has loved us all. And greater is no love than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends (John 15:13).


Anyway, I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter, and I hope everyone has a great rest of the year, too. Look forward, not back. And remember that no one's asking you to be perfect—just to try your best. That's what all of this Easter business means to me, a simple little heretic in the eyes of so many: a Christian Witch.


Be blessed. ♥


 

Christian Witch, Witchcraft, Mysticism, Magic, Crystals, Bible, Incense, Folklore, Sara Raztresen, God, Spirituality, Tarot, Occult, Evangelical, Demons, Sin, Danger, Possession, Idolatry

Sara Raztresen is a Slovene-American writer, screenwriter, and Christian witch. Her fantasy works draw heavily on the wisdom she gathers from her own personal and spiritual experience, and her s


piritual practice borrows much of the whimsy and wonder that modern society has relegated to fairy-and-folktale. Her goal is to help people regain their spiritual footing and discover


God through a new (yet old) lens of mysticism.



Follow Sara on Tiktok, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube, and explore her fiction writing here.


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Sonora Palmer
Sonora Palmer
ápr. 02.

I went to my local church for the first time since we moved, just for Easter services. It didn't feel....right. It wasn't until my husband and I came home and we talked about it that I realized what was missing - the joy of Easter. The love and celebration, the good tidings, they weren't there. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I realized that the funeral service we attended the day before had more hope and joy than the service I attended on Sunday. It made me so sad, and I don't think I'll be going back. THIS was the joy I was missing. The hope. I needed this so much after this weekend.

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