Ostara is coming soon. Any comments? V
Spring Equinox, Ostara, Eostre, Easter, Vernal Equinox
Spring Equinox marks the mid-point of the Waxing Year, the nights and days are balanced once again; the time when Kore, (Persephone) was believed to have returned from the Underworld where she had ruled throughout the Winter. The spark of light, born at Winter Solstice has reached maturity, and from here onwards, the days progressively grow longer than the nights. Western culture proclaims this the first day of Spring.
Older traditions called the Spring Equinox, Ostara; the time of the festivals of the Grecian Goddess, Eostre, and the Germanic Ostara, both fertility Goddesses of Dawn. These influenced the naming of the modern-day Easter Holiday. New greenery bursts forth from sleeping seeds in the countryside, as metaphorically, pagans also plant their own seeds for future goals, future projects and growth at this time.
Decorated eggs, being symbols of fertility are symbolic of Ostara. In days gone, Europeans gave gifts of decorated eggs to new brides, in the hope that they would bear many children. Similarly, bowls filled with eggs were given to farm workers by the farmer’s wife, to ensure a rich harvest. Most all cultures see the egg as a symbol of Life; the actual home of the Soul. In Russia, decorated eggs are still given as gifts to loved ones and buried in graves to ensure rebirth.
The women gathered the eggs only from hens which were around a rooster and decorated them, allowing no one to watch them work as they transferred the goodness of the household to the designs on the eggs, thus keeping evil away. Dyes were mixed to secret family recipes and special blessings placed on each egg.
The Spring Equinox defines the season where Spring reaches it's peak, with the powers of light increasing. The God of Light, (Llew), now gains victory over his twin, the God of Darkness. Llew was reborn at the Winter Solstice and is now old and strong enough to vanquish his rival twin and mate with his Mother Goddess. The great Mother Goddess, who returned to her Virgin aspect at Imbolc, welcomes the young Sun God's attentions and conceives a child. The child will be born nine months from now, at the next Winter Solstice, when the cycle closes, only to begin anew.
Here are some of the colours used on Ostara Eggs, and their meanings:
Wisdom, a successful Harvest, or Spirituality
Spring, rebirth, wealth, youth, growth, happiness
Good health, clear skies
Power endurance, ambition
Happiness, hope, passion, nobility, bravery, enthusiasm, love
Enrichment, good harvest, happiness
Faith, trust, power
Success, friendship, love
The custom of eating Hot Cross Buns also has pagan origins. The Saxons ate buns that were marked with a cross in honour of Eostre; ancient Greeks consumed these types of buns in their celebrations of Artemis, Goddess of the hunt, and the Egyptians ate a similar cake in their worship of the Goddess Isis.
There are conflicting ideas as to what the cross symbol represents. One suggestion is that it is a Christianisation of horn symbols that were stamped on cakes to represent an ox, which used to be sacrificed at the time of the Spring Equinox. Another theory relates to Moon worship; the bun representing the full Moon, and the cross, its four quarters. Christianity gave new meanings to the symbolism of the buns, saying the cross represented the Crucifixion Cross. Thus, superstitions arose crediting these buns as being charms against evil, so after Good Friday, people would save one or two of them to hang in their homes as amulets. During the festival season and indeed, for a long time afterwards, fishermen would carry these Easter buns in their boats, for protection.
The Easter Bunny is another symbol which has obvious links to fertility, rebirth, and the abundance of life which is evident in Spring.
According to myth, Eostre was a playful Goddess whose reign over the earth began in Sring when the Sun King journeyed across the sky in his chariot, bringing the end of Wnter. Eostre came down to Earth then, appearing as a beautiful maiden with a basket of bright colorful eggs. Eostre's magical companion was a rabbit who accompanied her as she brought new life to dying plants and flowers by hiding the eggs in the fields.
Leafy green vegetables, Dairy foods, Nuts such as Pumpkin, Sunflower and Pine. Flower Dishes and Sprouts.
Herbs and Flowers
Daffodil, Jonquils, Woodruff, Violet, Gorse, Olive, Peony, Iris, Narcissus and all spring flowers.
Jasmine, Rose, Strawberry, Floral of any type.
The Goddess Ostara’s (Eostre’s) celebration day can vary from the spring equinox (circa March 21) to the first full moon after the equinox. She is the Anglo-Saxon / Germanic Goddess of new beginnings, fertility, hope and renewal. It is a time of balance between day and night. Her symbols include the hare, colored eggs, spring flowers, in older times celebrants wore brand new clothing to celebrate her festival. Does this all sound familiar? It should, the symbolism and even the name of Ostaras / Eostre’s festival were adopted by the Christian celebration of Easter which also celebrates renewal and rebirth. One should note, that the holiday of Easter moves every year. It always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox.
Ostara is an interesting Goddess because she is considered a Maiden Goddess but instead of a new crescent, uses full moon energy. This makes sense if we consider that she is the Goddess who fires up all the growth in the spring. Physics teaches us that an object at rest, tends to stay at rest, it takes more energy to begin momentum that continue it. Consider the seed sleeping beneath the earth or the bud tightly wrapped on a tree branch. It’s like when the alarm goes off while you are snug under your blankets; the hardest part is just getting up and moving, and it takes a lot of energy to get started. That may explain a Maiden with full moon energy.
This dynamic Lady of spring has also had the female hormone Estrogen named after her. Bursting full of the power of femininity as well as regeneration, she takes the relay of life firmly in hand as the Crone has passed it to her from the underworld. As we note the sprouts, buds and blossoms bursting forth from the deep dark earth, take a moment to thank Ostara.
For real healing to happen to society, both woman and man must seriously re-evaluate the position of women in contemporary societies. In the early times there has been a society based around a Goddess Religion. Societies of the time were peaceful, agrarian lifestyle. As such, we must first work toward removing gender imbalance, which is still glaringly obvious in modern society. The gender imbalance is the main cause from all the health problems that prevail in society
In all of this, for good health and peace to prevail, women must be worshiped as a Goddess, as she too is part of the Great Mother Goddess, thus making her worthy of being worshiped. When society was based around a Goddess Religion, women were worshiped as Goddesses.
The important of the Goddess as a symbol of motherhood has to be felt and understood. All being ever been born or ever to be born will experience its mother as “numinous” (suffused with a feeling of Divinity). A women’s love must be free from selfishness, otherwise it does not produce proper motherhood, as the mother influences the future generation. If the fire has no flame it cannot give light, and smoke comes out of it, which is troublesome for the future generation. Such is selfish love.
HPS puts cakes into the center bowl, and says:
Woman of the Earth, who hallows our Circle,
We give You this offering,
Mother of Earth, bringer of Magick,
We give You this sacrifice.
We beseech You to fill our Circle with Joy
During our rite for Ostara, Springtide!
Welcome Mother Earth, and accept our offering!
HP pours the juice into the bowl, and says:
Wise God of Light
We give You this offering,
Father of quick speech, of magick working,
We give You this sacrifice
We beseech Thee to honor our working
During our rite for Ostara, Springtide!
Welcome God of Light, and accept our offering!
Offering to Ostara:
An egg is broken into the offering dish, saying:
Ostara, goddess of Spring, bringer of growth and rebirth,
We make this offering to You, this sacrifice to honor You
During this rite of Springtide.
We ask for Your blessings, we ask You to honor our rite!
Ostara, bringer of Spring, accept our offering! Ostara, bringer of Spring, accept our sacrifice!
After the ritual, bury the egg.
Sacred spring foods include eggs, cheese, fish, and lamb.
Frittata (egg & cheese "quiche")
Challah (egg bread)
Roasted lamb (or grilled chicken)
3 bean salad
Spinach salad with "Goddess" dressing
Mixed greens salad with edible flowers
Various beverages including milk & soymilk
Cheese platter (cheddar, brie, goat cheese)
Crackers and flatbread
Anise Cupcakes (anise is often used in Handfasting and Wedding Cakes and corresponds to fertility)
Savory Yellow Rosemary cake with edible pansies
Curious about when you say easter falls? When I took astonomy it was taught as the first Sunday after the first full moon after winter solstice. It always seemed to work correctly when I used a calendar. Is that just a different way to calculate when Easter is?
The Old High German for "Easter" is ôstarâ or ôstrâ, most commonly attested in the plural form, as ôstarûn, ôstrûn, ôsteron, ôstron, ôsteren, ôstern, since the festival spanned several days (MHG ôsterwoche "Easter week"). Grimm mentions Easter Bonfires (Osterfeuer) as a long-standing German tradition, attested since 1559. The German word is cognate to Old English eostre, but there is no direct evidence that it had been a theonym.
Grimm recalls Bede's account of Eostre and states that it was unlikely that the man of the church would simply have invented a pagan goddess. Comparing the Anglo-Saxon eostur-monath with the Old High German term for Easter (ôstertagâ, aostortagâ and variants), he reconstructs an Old High German equivalent of the Anglo-Saxon theonym, ôstarâ:
This Ostarâ, like the AS Eástre, must in the heathen religion have denoted a higher being, whose worship was so firmly rooted, that the Christian teachers tolerated the name, and applied it to one of their own grandest anniversaries. (trans. Stallybrass)
Deutsche Mythologie had a strong impact in German Romanticism, and "Ostara" achieved high publicity with those people that were interested in the field, e.g. within Germanic mysticism. An instance of this is the magazine Ostara, that appeared in Vienna between 1905 and 1920. The editor and later exclusive contributor was Lanz von Liebenfels. Ostara is also one of the names of the mother-archetype in the psychology of Carl Gustav Jung.
The major gods can be identified by their influence on the English weekday names Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday which come from Tiw, Wóden, Þunor, and Fríge respectively, through the Old English names Tíwesdæg, Wédnesdæg, Þunresdæg and Frígedæg.
The Osses correspond to the Norse Æsir: Woden, the leader of the Wild Hunt and the one who carries off the dead. He was one of the chief gods of the Angles and Saxons before the Christian era. He was held to be the ancestor of Hengist and Horsa, two legendary figures from early English history and most of the early Anglo-Saxon kings claimed descent from Woden. He gives us the modern Wednesday ("Woden's day").
Thunor, (AS Þunor). He is the god of thunder, who rules the storms and sky. He also protects mankind from the giants. He was the god of the common people within the heathen community. His name gives rise to the modern Thursday.
Fríge is the goddess of love, and is the wife of Woden. She is one of the most powerful Goddesses, this position being threatened only by Freyja. Her day is Friday, due to her associations with Venus.
Tiw is the god of warfare and battle, and gives us Tuesday. There is some speculation that he is a sky-god figure and formerly the chief god, displaced over the years by Woden.
The Wones correspond to the Vanir: Ingui Fréa was one of the most popular Gods, after Thunor and Woden. He is above all the God of fertility, bringing abundance (wone) and fruitfulness to the crops, herds, and the Folk. Though he is a fertility God, he is also connected to warfare to a degree; however, this warfare is defensive, as opposed to offensive, and is not to create strife and havoc. After all, peace is necessary for a good harvest and a productive community, while needless warfare destroys any prospect of peace and abundance. The Yngling royal line of Sweden claimed descent from him.
Freo is said to be the most beautiful of all the goddesses, and is therefore described as the Goddess of Love. She is not to be mistaken with Frige, however; Freo's dominion is erotic love, whereas Frige's is romantic love. Being a goddess of unbridled passion, she also takes half the slain of the battlefield, with the other half taken by Woden . Like her brother, Fréa, she is connected to abundance and wealth; however, her wealth is primarily in precious metals and gems. She is also a Goddess of Magic, having taught Woden seiðr.
Neorð is Frea and Freo's father, and is the God of the seas and commerce. He is called upon by fishermen and sailors who depend upon good seas. Like his son and daughter, his realm is that of wealth; namely, the wealth of the sea. He married the giantess Sceadu, though the marriage was not successful as neither of them could tolerate the other's element; Sceadu her mountains, and Neorð his sea.
Eorðe, whose name means "Earth," is the wife of Woden, by whom she gave birth to Þunor. She is also the daughter of the Goddess Niht. Her worship is generally passive, as opposed to active, though she is called on for "might and main." Her latent strength can be seen in her son, Þunor.
Eostre, according to Bede, is a Goddess tied with the "growing light of spring," and embodies purity, youth, and beauty, as well as the traditional rebirth and renewal concepts. Her symbols are hares and eggs, which symbolize the beginning of life and fertility. The current Christian festival of Easter is thought to contain elements of a pre-Christian festival in honour of Eostre; hence the name Easter.
Niht is the Goddess of Night, and also the mother of Eorðe. The Norse