Sunday, April 9, 2017

Easter Palms, Easter Eggs

Today it is Palm Sunday, and in countries where the tradition is observed children will walk with crosses made of palm leaves. This tradition commemorates the triumphal ride of Jesus into Jerusalem, when palm leaves were strewn in his path to carpet the way. Here in the Netherlands we have a charming children's rhyme, and this deceptively simple rhyme seems to be in the form of a riddle:

Ei koerei
Over ene zondag krijgen wij een ei. 
Eén ei is geen ei, 
twee ei is een hal-lef ei 
Drie ei is een Paas-ei!

"One egg is no egg - 
Two eggs are half an egg - 
Three eggs are an Easter egg!" 

It occurred to me that what at first seems a charmingly simple children's rhyme could be pointing us towards something much deeper, something which could offer us no less than a profound understanding of that most fundamental of ideas: the Holy Trinity.

In Christian tradition the Trinity existed from the beginning, so it is to the beginning of all things that we need to return to unravel this mystery of the Three-in-One:

One - the first state - is also none, for it is an existence without form. When this original state of the One becomes aware of itself – when it contemplates its own being – it becomes two, just as when we regard ourselves in a mirror there are ‘two’ of us, the one being aware of its reflected self. But still this is not yet the complete Self, not yet the complete story.

With this ‘Two’ growing aware of itself, ‘being’ turns into ‘becoming’. What these two manifest together is Form. So in this curious world of the Trinity, one plus one equals, not two, but three. Being, Awareness, Becoming: the three states of the Trinity which are the Three-in-One. As the rhyme tells us: the first egg is no-egg – it has no form. The second egg is half an egg – the process is still only half complete. But three eggs together are a whole egg: the egg has materialised into existence! 

So our humble Easter eggs form a wonderful connection with the 'Cosmic Egg'. And what at first seems like a simple children’s rhyme can contain a profound truth of what happened ‘in the beginning’. 

"Our Lady Częstochowa"

There is also a story (if I remember it correctly) that Peter challenged Mary Magdalene to prove her divine worth by changing the chicken's egg she happened to be holding. Before his eyes the egg turned red - which is how the tradition of painting Easter eggs began!

Painting of "Our Lady Częstochowaby" by Ulla Karttunen

1 comment:

  1. Hi Emma, gorgeous..super-beautiful post, so wonderfully written and expressed, beautiful pictures and art!
    Wishing you a most peaceful and magical season.