Why Easter should remain a moveable feast

As we all know, journalists have staple seasonal themes that they return to with slight variations year after year. Thus in the summer, they write about school exam results and how A levels are not as rigorous as they used to be; in the autumn, when the clocks go back, they call for the abandonment of British Summer Time and if that should disadvantage the Scots, it’s no more than they deserve for their nationalist importunings; and in Spring they ask why is Easter so early/so late this year and why can’t we just pluck a fixed date out of the air and settle on that?

These journalists usually manage to find some politicians and even church representatives to back up their call to settle on one date. Secularists have suggested that Easter should fall on the second Sunday of April each year. The World Council of Churches in 1997 suggested replacing the current equation-based system for calculating the date with direct astronomical observation.

For Easter is indeed a moveable feast. To state it as simply as possible, Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after the Spring Equinox on 21st March. It can be as early as 22nd March, as it was in 1761 and 1818, but will not be again until 2285. It can be as late as 25th April but that hasn’t happened since 1943 and won’t recur until 2038 (although as we will see later, the church authorities got the 1943 date wrong). The commonest date is 19th April though the full cycle of Easter dates only repeats after 5,700,000 years.

Now all this is of course very untidy and much annoys bureaucrats, atheists, skeptics and planners who would like to have fixed public holiday dates – but these people are wholly ignorant of the fact that on the true Easter Sunday intensified cosmic energies flow into the earth.

To back up that statement, I’m going to refer to some remarkable experiments done by Lili Kolisko (1889 – 1976), who did investigative scientific work into etheric formative forces, following indications given by Rudolf Steiner. She had shown that it was possible to get an image of the life-force of a plant by making a highly potentised solution of the plant essence through very great dilution, and then adding a solution of certain minerals which represent planetary forces – Silver Nitrate, Iron Sulphate or Gold Chloride. A piece of litmus paper is placed upright in a saucer with the solution and the liquid, rising to a certain height, shows the most striking colours and shapes which reveal the invisible etheric forces working in the plant. The technique is known as capillary dynamolysis.

Lili Kolisko

Lili Kolisko

In 1943, by which time Mrs Kolisko was living in the UK and carrying out daily experiments with capillary dynamolysis, Easter fell shortly after the equinox on 28th March. The church authorities in England had ruled that the Easter Full Moon should be considered to be a month later and that the festival should be celebrated on 25th April. The Astronomer Royal maintained that the earlier date was correct. Mrs Kolisko set out through her experiments to see which of them was right. Every day she repeated her experiments and a certain pattern showed itself again and again, until on Sunday 28th March a resplendent form of shape and colour appeared, quite different from the others.

On the church authorities’ preferred Sunday of 25th April there was no difference from the pattern of any other day.

A similar strengthening of the etheric forces was revealed on the true Whitsuntide, six weeks later. So to anyone looking at the photos of these experiments, there can be no doubt whatever that a remarkable inpouring of spiritual power takes place on the true Easter Sunday and at Whitsun. It indicates that both Easter and Whitsun are cosmic events. If any of you want to read more about this, there is a monograph by Lili Kolisko, called Spirit in Matter, available here.

And I’m tempted to quote one of Steiner’s remarks from his autobiography, that materialism “looks at matter but is unaware that it is really spirit that it is looking at, only it is appearing in material form.”

But I don’t expect that this will become a staple seasonal theme for journalists any time soon.

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Filed under Anthroposophy, Lili Kolisko, Spiritual Science

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