For Easter this year, I wanted to make it a good one. The first and foremost meaning of Easter to me always has been resurrection and since my life has felt like one big resurrection of myself, I felt it appropriate to acknowledge and celebrate the holiday, given the energy in the air.
I really wanted to go to mass this year and since I am located in the Los Angeles area now, the choices for rituals are more abundant. Every now and then I like to honor my Christian roots, specifically Catholic. I think I am one of the few pagans that has had and still has a positive experience with Christianity. I decided to go to the Ecclesia Gnostica in Glendale, CA where I was fortunate to behold the very Holy and magickal Bishop Stephan Hoeller.
His mass was an absolute beauty to behold and I found myself weeping at times and sometimes holding back great big sobs so as not to make a spectacle of myself in front of Bishop, parishioners, church and God. It was truly touching. Before my eyes, I saw the Holy Spirit being invoked and great choirs of angels filled the low-lying ceiling to the point I could not see the ceiling beams and only points of light as if I was staring into the night sky itself. I humbly and gratefully partook of the Eucharist, my first in decades from a Christian church. (As an aside, for a moment I was concerned because I had not done Confession before the Eucharist, which is expected in the Roman Catholic church. I was quickly comforted with a soft voice, saying, "Its OK, just do it")
It was there that a piece of my own Gnosis came to fruition. I used to think that the Eucharist was about sacrifice, that Jesus was sacrificed for our sins. But as I sat in that ritual, I remembered my Catholic Confirmation and the Stations of the Cross. I learned the stations from the Father and the many times I saw the depictions painted on the walls of the church. The images floated in my mind's eyes and I saw my own life's struggles. I let that little wafer soaked in wine dissolve slowly on my tongue, as I was taught when I was a child and I allowed both the effigy and the story it represented become one with me. Then, I realized the Eucharist was not solely about sacrifice. It is about taking in the wisdom and knowledge of the mysteries, regardless of what tradition, within ourselves to the point where we become an embodiment of the Truth that the mysteries convey.
It was not all the blood and gore that I used to fear when I was a child... taking the "Body and Blood" of Christ. It was not meant to be literal. The message is to take on the force and form of the Gnosis, with the body being a metaphor for form and the blood being a metaphor for force.
I was pleasantly surprised when Bishop Hoeller began to speak about the very thoughts from my epiphany and added that if Christians do not begin to stop taking these ideas so literally, it would mean great loss of faith, or even death itself.
The rite left me contemplative, like no other mass or ritual has done. It has taken me this long to actually write about it.