I am discovering the beauty of pysanky. For those of us who are not Ukranian, this is the intricate, painstaking process by which common white egg shells are transformed into sensational, symbolic works of art. A pysanky exhibit just opened at the very cool Lakewood Cultural Arts Center www.lakewood.org/comres/page.cfm?ID=18&LakewoodCulturalCenter/. If you’re interested in learning how it’s done, click here: http://www.learnpysanky.com/
What I’ve learned is that each design carries a message and each color within has its own meaning. Red = spiritual awakening. White = purity. Blue = good health. New to me is the knowledge that, while psyanky is now synonymous with Easter eggs, the art began centuries before Christianity came to the Ukraine. Like many of our religious symbols and places, that which was revered by the people at that time was borrowed by those longing to make the Christ message the central belief.
Now, I have friends who will read the sentence I just wrote and say borrowed is too mild a word. I have others who will read the same sentence and feel I’ve somehow discounted their core faith. Whatever your view, its yours, and I honor that. I personally have come to believe that finding and following the spiritual path for which we’re intended is no less individual than our fingerprints or our DNA sequences.
This past week, I’ve shared a fun exchange with a high-school friend (very smart, engineer) whose faith and politics are decidedly more traditional than mine. He teased me about hosting a “spring festival egg hunt” since “Easter egg” might not be politically correct. I told him I’d given up being P.C. for Lent. Which elicited an “LOL” from him that I enjoyed immensely.
Truth is, I haven’t given it up. But what some see as P.C., I read as inclusiveness. I’m not referring to the sheer-silly language-lengths people go to at times to disguise what they really mean. That makes me twitch. I’m talking about our consciously shifting from an either/or view of this still-evolving cultural community we share to an and/also. Because within my heart-circle are kind, compassionate, thoughtful people who–given their origins and choices and divine design–live this season as Easter, Passover, the Equinox…and even more than one.
For me it comes down to the beauty of an intricately considered, original statement of belief. Even when, or especially when, borrowed elements are part of the design.
Kind of looks like pysanky to me.