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Easter and Personal Transformation.

Psychotherapy — admin @ 8:02 pm

Here at Counselling Connections this week we have been grappling with a question posed to us by a twelve year old. She wanted to know about the origin of the tradition of giving eggs at Easter time. Like a lot things it turns out there is more than one answer. In the first instance it seems that eggs were one of the foods that were not generally consumed during the Lenten fast. Pancake Tuesday became the day when all the eggs in the larder were eaten before Lent began. The stocks that piled up over the weeks of Lent were then consumed at Easter time. Eggs also represent renewal or rebirth which is a deeper, older meaning of the Easter holiday.

Indeed a look at the dictionary reveals that the origin of the word Easter lies in the old Germanic goddess of fertility and spring. Her name is linked with East and the sunrise and her feast was celebrated around the spring equinox. It is said that early Christians borrowed her name for their celebrations of the resurrection at the same time of the year. So the Christian story of Jesus dying and being raised from the dead supplanted earlier traditions who celebrated a feast of new life at this time of the year.

Indeed the story of the Passion of Christ which we remember at this time is one which represents extremes of suffering. Suffering is something many people endure at different times in their lives. The anguish which He endured in the Garden of Gethsemane is something that many have identified with at times of illness, loss or personal crises. The idea of death and rebirth is one which recurs not only in the story of Jesus but also throughout mythology. It also makes an appearance in dreams. We may find a dreamer reporting that they imagined their own death but were a witness to it and emerge from it a different person.

These themes represent something which seems to be common in human psychology, especially as we pass through the phases of childhood. We can face the next stage ahead of us with great fear. It can seem like a trial which we are not sure we will be able to survive. We cling to the comfort of the familiar and we resist change. This can happen after we have reached adulthood if we become unhappy in our home, work or relationship. At these times we can suffer great anguish and fear at the prospect of what may lie ahead of us. We may be tempted to turn away from the suffering that might be involved if we try to bring about change. This can also result in pain for the ones we love.

We see this kind of anguish all the time in our work. We see people assess where they are at in life and begin to consider a different kind of future. Often this results in upset and suffering as we go through a process of transformation from an old self to a new one. Sometimes these changes result in a new career or in the breakup of a long standing relationship or marriage. These are the modern, therapeutic realities of the ancient phenomenon of death and rebirth. They mirror our ancient forbears marking of the change of the seasons; the coming of spring and the light of sunrise on new growth. It is a natural process with a momentum of its own and we hope that in our work we can continue to facilitate those who are ready to undertake their own journey.

Happy Easter from us all at Counselling Connections.

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