Sunday, March 27, 2005

Rebirth, Spring & the bloody goddess Eostre

Well, here it is Easter, and for the first time in my life, there's no Easter basket or chocolate bunny or, from my time honored tradition when the kids were small, 10 hour car trip which inevitably ended with the car full of jelly beans which would not all be found until the following Christmas. Jelly beans remain eternally the same, in case you're interested, they do not decay or change shape (unless melted by the sun in July, when they turn into puddles of technicolor goo with approximately the same tensile strength as superglue.) You can stuff a couple down into the back of the seat of a 1990 Chrysler minivan and then pull them out eight months later, a little fuzzy but otherwise inviolate. M. has gone to the beach with his friend D.'s family, A. is on a car trip of her own, heading to Florida and sunny weather, and so, no Easter. I toyed with the idea of going to meeting this morning but managed to dither about it until it was too late to get there on time, thank the goddess. The goddess, the goddess Eostre, who we honor today with bunnies and chicks and ritualized goat sacrifice! Oh wait, wrong holiday.

Actually, I have been thinking about Easter and have realized that I am woefully ignorant on several points of Christian mythology. So, the idea of Easter, as I get it, was that Jesus died, was taken to that stone cave, sealed up, and then when the two Marys and perhaps one of the Simons came to get his body, he was gone. And a religion was built around . . . what? A missing corpse, like a detective story? Or, okay, let's take it as a given that he was in fact resurrected, and ascended bodily into heaven: why is that such a good thing? So, is Jesus the only person in heaven condemned to walk around in the flesh all the time? Shitting and having wet dreams and stomach aches and all the ills that flesh is heir to? Doesn't sound like such a good deal for him; especially when everyone else in heaven, Michael and Gabriel & the cherubim & what not, also legions of the faithful, are floating around in pure spirit form and could care less about sitting down to a burger and brew. I mean, if Jesus is still in a body, then logically that body must get hungry, need a multivitamin, fluoridated water and 8 hours of sleep. Well, logically actually, in that case Jesus probably died about 50 years after he got up there - assuming that the average life expectancy in heaven is somewhat longer than down on earth, particularly in 1st century Galilee, where it was probably something close to contemporary inner city DC. At any rate, Jesus aged, alone among the heavenly hosts, and then conked out, or stayed alive and corporeal but lonely in his mammalian splendor among the bodiless. Seems like he got shafted, in more ways than one.

Still, it's good that spring is here, daffodils are blooming (although not mine, I swear something eats them over the winter, voles or something) and my vegetable garden is rototilled and bounded by landscape timbers and in fact looks amazingly professional even with the gate made of a car bumper and a single bed headboard. I usually think about resurrection and rebirth this time of year (raised in a Christian country, after all) and I was thinking too about Neil Gaiman's characterization of Eostre as a prostitute. I wouldn't call that goddess who wanders around this time of year a hooker. Or even a sex goddess, really. It's true, of course, that this is the best time of the year to go out and fuck like bunnies in the garden and make the plants grow (later in the spring you might crush the seedlings) but that's just being a conscientious gardener. (That works, by the way, don't knock it if you haven't tried it, after all Wilhelm Reich endorsed the idea and if you don't think sex releases tremendous energies into the atmosphere you're doing it wrong.)Still, I think Easter is really more of a midwife than a call girl. Easter, spring, is birth: bloody, messy, miraculous and complicated. The huge struggle of life is going on, plants are growing inches a day, the birds start singing at 4 am and the cats are growing fat. The Easter goddess is a midwife; she can put down her forceps and wipe her bloody hands around Beltane, when the pace slows a little and summer is definitely on the way; she can change shape then and be languid eyed Aphrodite for a while, but right now Easter is too busy for sex.

Like me. And like my sweet brush off boy - we're all too busy for sex. Ah well.


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A simple hot compress applied to the face is very soothing to those throbbing aches and pains of a blocked sinus, while a few drops of eucalyptus oil on a handkerchief can provide welcome relief for similar conditions. While supplements of vitamin C, D and zinc will shorten the lifespan of a common cold, a hot lemon drink is also extremely good. And be sure to cuddle-up in bed when you have a cold, as it will make the body sweat out the germs.

Cool lemon juice and honey are a great soother for a sore throat and gives the body much-needed vitamin C at the same time The juice of one lemon in a glass of water is sufficient. Melt the honey in a little hot water for ease of mixing.

A smear of Vaseline or petroleum jelly will do wonders for those sore lips and nose that often accompany a cold.

A 'streaming cold' where the nose and eyes water profusely, can respond to drinking onion water. Simply dip a slice of onion into a glass of hot water for two seconds, then sip the cooled water throughout the day. Half an onion on the bedside table also alleviates cold symptoms because its odor is inhaled while you sleep.

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Do you suffer from sore eyes? If your eyes are sore from lengthy exposure to the sun, try beating the white of an egg and then spread it over a cloth and bandage the eyes with it. Leave the preparation on overnight. Soft cheese (quark) is also a good remedy for this condition.

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Sleepless? Instead of reaching for sleeping pills, which can quickly become addictive, try this: Drink only caffeine free tea or coffee starting late in the afternoon.. Go to bed earlier rather than later, as being overtired tends to keep people awake. Make sure the bedroom is dark and quiet. Use only pure wool or cotton sheets and blankets. Polyester materials can cause sweat and make you thirsty (if your child constantly asks for water throughout the night, this could be the reason).

And don't watch those scary movies just before retiring! If you still can't sleep, make a tea of lemongrass or drink a nightcap of herbal tea containing chamomile. It's easy to grow lemongrass in your garden or start a flower pot on the balcony for ease of picking. Simply steep a handful in boiling water for five minutes. Honey may be added for a sweetener.

Of course there will be times when you do need modern drugs, so if these simple remedies don't have the required affect, be sure to see a health care professional.

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