Kage Baker would say, today: αναστήθηκε! Or Crist aras! Or Crist is arisen! Arisen he sothe! Or Christus resurrexit! Or Christos voskres! Or Atgyfododd Crist! Or Cristo resucito!
Or, if actually required, she’d resort to plain modern English: He is Risen! But that was only if she had to deal with the rare member of our friends and family who didn’t speak one of the languages noted above. Those are, FYI: Greek, Old English, Middle English, Latin, Russian (for sister Anne, who fancied it), Welsh (for me, a Celtic partisan) and Galician (for Mendoza, of course).
Happy Easter just didn’t cut it for Kage. She was extremely devoted to your basic vegetative resurrection myth – of which the Passion is the Christian version. We were raised Roman Catholics. It more or less took on Kage. It didn’t, on me; I evidently did not see a Christian when I hatched.
The Spring Story is one of the best human stories, though, and I love it – I just find more meaning in Tammuz, Osiris, the Corn Lord, Baldur, Lleu Llaw Gyffhes. John Barleycorn – of whose Life , Death and Resurrection Kage wrote a mystery play that we performed for decades at Renaissance Faires … some of the best religious moments of my life have been joyously shouting out the rebirth of John Barleycorn under the spring oaks.
They are all the Young Lord, anyway. They all die for our sake and are reborn again in the Spring. They are all the occasion for feasts, hope, and renewed joy. Babies of all species. Flowers and new leaves on the winter-bare trees. Sunlight and soft rain and perfume on the wind.
It’s especially good to celebrate this year.We really need the Young Lord to rise for us. It’s going to be a hard year, here in Los Angeles; hot, stony, ashy and dry. A bit of spring festival is needed, to arm our souls for the grim heat of the California drought.
It’s been a long, dark, dry winter here. January was Fimbulwinter; frost flowers bloomed in the garden; everything else died. Then February and March segued at once into a 90-degree premature Summer, and some things were never born. We’re officially in a drought, now, which has been apparent in Los Angeles for over a year while the government sybils got the news from the aether late … We let our lawn die last year, and right now we are waiting for the broken granite gravel that will replace it. White sage, ceanothus, rock roses and sage plants will decorate the front yard; creeping thyme will replace the ground cover. It’ll take little or no water and smell like paradise.
The roses, the tomatoes, the peas and beans and cucumbers: those were moved to pots some time ago. We water them sparingly by hand, with grey water from the shower. Faire showers have been resumed in our house; you may know them as Navy showers – the idea being, you turn off the water between soapings, to save it for the next person. But Spring deserves some new plants, so we’ve chosen to make most of them edible. Tomatoes are almost a religion, anyway.
Chocolate rabbits. Hot cross buns. Homemade muffins. Lamb last week and ham this week; the culinary calendar of springtime foods and delights; the fresh things that mean winter went away and we survived once again! Now all we have to do is survive summer …
But the Young Lord is risen indeed, and he will see us through even the scorching seasons. Life cannot be stopped, not really, not forever. Kage knew that, which was why her favourite greeting for this day was “He is risen!”
It’s the solid core of the holiday, the part that matters most of all.
Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη!
He is Risen! He is Risen, indeed!