(This was actually intended to be posted on Easter, so you can start imagining.)
Yes, Jesus Christ is risen. Jesus, Son of Mary, Son of Iao Sabaoth — Man-God, the Anointed One, the Risen One, the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Logos in flesh.
Yes, him. I may have recanted my ties with the Vatican and Constantinople, but I haven’t quite abandoned the worship of Christ or his mother (and sometimes, a couple of saintly spirits, too). Also, admit it, that song is ace, how can you leave it behind?
I wanted to take this time to talk about him a little — and his role in my religious life — because I will probably not have too many chances to talk about him in the next 360 days or so, being preoccupied with other spirits closer to me.
Unlike many pagan reverts who grew up in boring Protestant homes or were nominally Catholic for most of their lives, my elders were quite devout Catholics. I don’t remember anyone being all preachy about salvation or hell-fire, but people were generally devoted to the Baby Jesus, the Blessed Virgin, and other divine spirits. (I say, spirits, because that’s how I remember seeing them as — as a multitude of divine and semi-divine beings partial to decent men and women, aiding them in their daily lives. Sounds rather pagan, doesn’t it?)
Ah, I see the bishops disapproving. I suppose, I never really was brought up in a very “christian” household, if we followed their definitions of the word. I’d say, two thirds folkish and a third orthodox? After all, it’s not very uncommon for many predominantly Catholic countries to mix indigenous practices with Vatican-sanctioned Christianity. I’d go as far to say that the parts that do agree with papist doctrine are mostly coincidental, not something people do to make the Pope happy. Fiestas are fun first of all, never mind if they have any salvific component.
Sure, the Pope stinks and the Vatican is a scandal-ridden, corrupt institution run by life-denying chauvinists. Sure, I don’t regard the Gospels or the Torah as particularly sacred scripture. Sure, I don’t believe in most of orthodox Christianity’s tenets. Sure, I identify as a proud Hellene, as one who took the same path as Julian the Apostate, but what has all that got to do with Jesus or Mary?
Nothing, because Jesus is not Christianity or the Catholic Church or the Pope. Not very different from how our poets or our philosophers are not the deathless gods of high Olympos. When we sacrifice to the Gods, it is with them to whom we owe the bonds of hospitality; of xenia, of eusebeia or pietas.
I don’t care for an historical Jesus, if there even was one (or more). So, what if a hippie, feminist, 1st century Galilean rabbi-carpenter never really rose from the grave to save humanity? Does that mean people can’t walk his path of radical love, anymore? Of course, we can!
That’s because Christ is a myth, more than anything else, and — as we all very well know here in Paganistan — myth can sometimes be much more powerful and moving than history.
Is Christ a very important part of my cultus? Not by much, but he is there; a part of my household’s pantheon, and no one can tell me that he can’t. That’s the beauty of polytheism, I suppose.
I took pictures of our Paschal celebration and wrote some poetry, too, but those will have to follow.
Meanwhile, here are some rather charming thoughts on the subject: