There’s a kid version of Easter eggs: bright jelly beans and foil-wrapped chocolates (with “maple-flavored” creme filling, gack), hidden in the house or maybe outside, weather permitting.
And there is the designer version of Easter eggs, a la Martha Stewart: natural dye-stuffs used to subtly color the organic eggs laid by my own prize-winning hens… eggs not hidden but instead used to decorate a table laid for an intimate 20-person champagne brunch. Right.
Somewhere in between these two there’s a happy pagan version. It still involves organic eggs. And probably chocolate.
Our group has been decorating eggs for nearly twenty years now. Some are shown above. Only the intensely red one was actually dyed. The others shown are fertile, raw, natural, and decorated using colored pencils and metallic markers, focussed intentions and an occasional dash of glitter. They’re blessed in ritual, taken home to personal altars.
Why the emphasis on eggs? An egg is “born” twice: once when the hen lays it, and again when it hatches. Excellent symbolism.
And excellent timing. For our ancestors, eggs were scarce during the winter months — hens need sunlight (and the Vitamin D it provides) to produce eggshells, so back then, when the hens began laying plentifully again, Spring had really returned. (Factory farms with artificial light sources now put eggs in the grocery stores year around.)
While we tend to associate eggs with birds, remember that eggs are also laid by snakes. By shedding their old skins, snakes symbolize regeneration and transformation. Like other hibernating creatures, snakes begin reawakening in Spring. They also present an alternative to all the seasonal cutesiness, though, alas, I’ve yet to see a chocolate snake.