Random thoughts and bits of life of a coffee loving artist

Friday, March 7, 2014

In the Spirit of Spring

There are a great many things to be found on the internet when looking for a certain topic or image. Some rather educational, some humorous, and then some just.. well... mind blowing idiotic. Perhaps 'idiotic' is not the right term to use, but rather short-sighted-closed-minded-propaganda. You're probably confused and wondering what I'm going with this so let me explain by telling you wonderful readers what had happened to me in the last two days.

This week I had announced on my art Facebook page that I was in the process of creating a new group of bookmarks with the theme of Spring in mind. Several friends of mine had suggested that I could do a bookmark each based off of various world religions, which I completely jumped on as a wonderful idea. Going through my own collection of research notes and double checking dates of certain celebrations online, I settled on the festival of Ostara (Norse), festival of Beltane (Celtic), and the celebration of Vesak (Buddhist, which left the last bookmark in the grouping open for a suggestion later on. So far, so good.

As I would have expected, finding imagery and symbols for the Ostara and Beltane bookmarks were relatively easy. Pondering what the fourth design should be, again I turned to my eclectic group of friends for advice. One of my warm and bubbly pagan friends suggested: “Well, what about the more 'traditional' Easter? An actual Jesus related thing, rather then the appropriated paganistic version?” Hmm. Shouldn't be too difficult.. or so I thought.

I was originally looking for something in the range of Pysanka, beautifully decorated Ukrainian eggs, which I thought would make a lovely bookmark design. 

Chocolate Virgin Mary & Jesus icons
My first mistake was just looking up 'Easter eggs'. There were a couple of humorous images that had come up, including a chocolate Jesus and Virgin Mary. Not too sure how that image got into the collection but I just laughed, shrugged and moved on. And then I found a certain image I just had to stare at in disbelief. It was one of the few times I felt sick to my stomach and actually had the need to share the image with my friends apologizing over the amount of bigotry and closed mindedness that was there. Before my eyes was the cover of a book titled Are Your Children Playing With Lucifer's Testicles? The truth about Easter Eggs by Dr. Daniel Cameroon. After the shock of seeing this, I just had to see if this was a real thing or not. It took a bit of looking around but to my horror and disgust, I discovered that the book was indeed a real thing. I could only get myself to read the first part of the summary of the book before I couldn't take the knots that were forming in my stomach from glimpsing the obviously hate-filled content. To give you wonderful readers a glimpse into what this book contains, 'lovingly' written by an obviously 'concerned Christian':

Are Your Children Playing With Lucifer's Testicles? is a Bible based book for Christian parents who by lack of faith can't afford to send their children to a decent Christian school. Their precious youngsters are infected by the secular filth and lies being taught by unsaved teachers in America's public school system. The book teaches parents how to easily explain to their children that Easter (as it is celebrated by the Unsaved) has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus Christ but is actually a holiday celebrating lewd and sexually explicit pagan rituals of fertility. 

As a side note, I usually do include links to the various articles and sources that I use for information but in the case of this particular book, I don't have it in me to include it's source. I do however wish to note that yes, I am a Christian but instead of automatically thinking that anything that is not within my circle of faith is evil and should be burned, I take the time to research what is around me and understand from another's point of view. Why is that? Personally, I believe that it's not in my place to judge another who has a different religion from me or no religion at all. I know that it feels like to be judged and ridiculed for being different, odd, and even 'not Christian enough'. That last one just shakes my head considering that we are supposed to love and be concerned about each other's well being. It's fanatics like this individual who actually scare me and worry about the safety of my friends. So to my non-Christian friends and readers, I do extend my apologies for having to deal with things like this on a constant basis but please rest assured that not all of us are that way.

After I had spoken with my friends about the horror of discovering that such literature actually does exist, noting to them that the website that I had discovered it on was also suggesting a purchase of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, I had to tell them that there was still a part of me that wished the entire thing was a joke but knew that it probably wasn't.

Ukrainian Painted Eggs 

To lighten the mood, one of the wonderful women who I was speaking with was able to locate for me some wonderful examples of Ukrainian painted eggs and I had later discovered that there is actually an entire museum in Kolomyya, Ivano-Frankivs'ka oblast, Ukraine dedicated to Pysanka along with a location in the United States.

Pysanka Museum
Address: Kolomyya, Ivano-Frankivs'ka oblast, Ukraine
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday 10am-6pm
Phone: +380 3433 27891

The Ukrainian Museum
Address: 222 East 6th Street (bet. 2nd and 3rd Aves.) New York, NY 10003
Hours: Wednesday - Sunday 11:30am - 5pm
Phone: (212) 228-0110

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