eostre

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Bottlecap offering tealights made with leftover wax from another candle. I ordered anchored wicks and then dumped the wax in.

So far so good! I don’t know how long it will burn, but one’s going right now for Eostre, so I can let you know!

Edited to add: It lasted between 35 and 45 minutes (soy wax, don’t know if that makes a difference). I say this is a win for using up leftovers if you can find affordable wicks!

Ostara Blessings to all. Today is the Spring Equinox when night and day are both at equal length.

The Wheel turns to that special point of balance. On this day, light and dark are equal, but the light is surpassing the dark, warmth is taking over cold, life is taking over death, today we truly say goodbye to winter. The young horned God is growing stronger and the Goddess is in her maiden form.

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we look forward to the longer and warmer days. We notice the buds forming on the branches, the birds returning and animals coming out of hiding, flowers will start to shoot and the grass will become lush and green.

The young Sun God takes notice of the Maiden Goddess and the stirrings within them seem to be felt in all living creatures. All the world seems renewed– refreshed– and bursting with possibilities.

Ostara is an Anglo Saxon and Celtic fertility festival that would worship the Goddess Ostara or Eostre as she is also known. Eggs and rabbits are her fertility symbols, the egg resembles new life and birth and the rabbit signifies fertility. Ostara is all about rebirth, other Goddesses worshiped on this day are Ishtar and Persephone who both were resurrected from death on this day. The Horned Sun God also known as the Oak King or the Lord of Light is also worshiped, The Gods Pan and Cernunnos and Sun Gods such as Sol, Apollo Ra and Horus. In ancient Rome, the followers of Cybele believed that their goddess had a consort who was born via a virgin birth. His name was Attis, and he died and was resurrected each year during the time of the Spring Equinox.

Eostre was the Saxon version of the Germanic Goddess Ostara. Her feast day was held on the first full moon following the Spring equinox, almost the identical calculation as for the Christian Easter in the west.

Ostara is a time of newness and rebirth, it is a time to clear out all our old junk and have a good clean out, this is where we get the term spring clean. But it isn’t just clearing out our homes it is also clearing out the junk and negative energy that we carry around with us. Let the new energies of the Sun and Spring rejuvenate us. Welcome in the new, breath new life into you and look to the future with hope and optimism.

On Ostara it is customary to plant new seeds especially herbs to use in spell work and watch them grow over the coming months, add your wishes and desires to the plants. Also plant seeds of thought and new ideas and cultivate them, let them grow and become.

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MYTHOLOGY MEME :  ten goddesses → eostre

       Eostre, or Ostara, is the personification of the rising sun. In that capacity she is associated with the spring and is considered to be a fertility goddess. She is the friend of all children and to amuse then she changed her pet bird into a rabbit. This rabbit brought forth brightly colored eggs, which the goddess gave to the children as gifts. From her name and rites the festival of Easter is derived. (x)(x)(x

Of Myth and Legend →   Eostre

Eostre is the Germanic Goddess of Spring. Also called Ostara or Eastre, She gave Her name to the Christian festival of Easter (which is an older Pagan festival appropriated by the Church), whose timing is still dictated by the Moon. Modern pagans celebrate Her festival on the Vernal Equinox, usually around March 21, the first day of Spring. Eostre is connected with renewal and fertility. Eggs and rabbits are sacred to Her, as is the full moon, since the ancients saw in its markings the image of a rabbit or hare. She is also a dawn goddess, and may be related to the Greek Goddess of the dawn Eos. (x)

Only 2 days until Ostara, The Spring Equinox, when both night and day are at equal length.

The winter, harsh and long, is now fading. The Earth is waking from Her frozen slumber and it’s time to rejoice in life, warmth and a renewal of the spirit. Come celebrate and worship as we give birth to all things fresh and new. Let us reconnect with family, loved ones and friends, old and new as we turn the Wheel to Ostara.

Once again, night and day stand in perfect balance, with light ascending. Ostara is a fertility festival celebrating the birth of Spring and the reawakening of life from the earth. The energies of nature subtly shift from the sluggishness of Winter to the exuberant expansion of Spring. It is a time of great fertility, new growth, and newborn animals. The Goddess blankets the earth with fertility as she bursts forth from Her winter sleep. The young God stretches and grows to maturity as he walks the greening fields and delights in the abundance of nature.

Traditionally, Ostara is a time for collecting wildflowers, walking in nature’s beauty, and cultivating herb gardens. This is the time to free yourself from anything in the part that is holding you back. At this time we think of renewing ourselves. We renew our thoughts, our dreams, and our aspirations. We think of renewing our relationships.

This is an excellent time of year to begin everything new or to completely revitalize something. This is also an excellent month for prosperity rituals or rituals that have anything to do with growth.

The name for this Sabbat actually comes from that of the Teutonic lunar Goddess, Eostre. Her chief symbols were the bunny for fertility, and the egg (representing the cosmic egg of creation). This is where the customs of “Easter Eggs” and the “Easter Bunny” originated.

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Ostara or Eostre is a Germanic goddess of dawn and fertility. She was traditionally honoured in the month of April with festivals to celebrate fertility, renewal and re-birth. It was from Eostre that the Christian celebration of Easter evolved, and indeed the naming of the hormone Eostrogen, essential to women’s fertility. Her symbols are the hare and the eggs.

The date of the Christian Easter is determined by the phase of the moon.  The nocturnal hare, so closely associated with the moon which dies every morning and is resurrected every evening, also represents the rebirth of nature in Spring.  Both the moon and the hare were believed to die daily in order to be reborn - therefore the hare is a symbol of immortality.  It is also a major symbol for fertility and abundance as the hare can conceive while pregnant.

The egg (and all seeds) contains ‘all potential’, full of promise and new life.  It symbolises the rebirth of nature, the fertility of the Earth and all creation.

Happy Ostara Day!

Okay, so, I saw this on Facebook a few minutes ago, and I almost went off on the person who posted it, before deciding… Facebook does not get that much of my energy.

Tumblr, though…

I Googled it and noticed that this bizarre notion is apparently spreading across the internet – in almost the same language, proving that this is all just a self-referential circle jerk of misinformation. And with Ishtar being one of my ladies, I can’t stand for this nonsense. Plus, poor understanding of the historical context of pagan cultures pisses me off.

So. This graphic is conflating a few things. Ishtar/Inanna was a goddess who had a symbolic journey to the Underworld, essentially dying and being reborn (a trait she shares not only with Jesus of Nazareth but with at least one deity in just about every culture since the dawn of time). Her worship was no longer anywhere near common enough to influence the start of Christianity, though – aspects of her had been folded into Hera/Juno and Aphrodite/Venus, but that’s as close as you’ll get.

The eggs and bunnies come from another deity – the Germanic Eostre. Linguists do believe that connection between the names Eostre and Easter/Ostern is sound and not just coincidence – but only in Germanic-derived languages. In Latin-derived languages, it remains a variation of Pasca/Pascha.

Constantine had nothing to do with any of it. The Eostre/Easter collision happened a few centuries later, with the conquest of the Teutonic and Baltic territories, largely under the Frankish Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties.

Oh and it’s definitely pronounced ISH-tar. Vowels might have some variation, and of course this is all transliterated out of Sumerian/Akkadian/Babylonian anyway, but that “H”-sound is definitely there.

Just so we’re all clear.

Easter many believe is a Pagan festival, that when Christians were converting Pagans they kept a lot of Pagan traditions and just put a Christian spin on it, what do bunnies and eggs have to do with the resurrection of Christ? Easter itself is a different date every year because it is determined by the spring equinox, it is always on the first Sunday after the Full Moon of the Spring Equinox.

The Goddess Ishtar, also known as Eostre. Below is her legend and Why Easter is celebrated and her resurrection from death in the spring.

Ishtar was the Lady of the Gods, the Goddess of fertility. She had been unlucky in love. Her husband Tammuz, the great love of her youth, had died when he was still very young. She had fallen in love with Gilgamesh, that great king, but he had spurned her advances. Ishtar was the Goddess of fertility and kept all things growing and mating on earth.

In Babylon, the dead were sent to the Underworld, a place of darkness ruled over by the Goddess Irkalla. It was said that in this place they lived on dust and mud. After being rejected by Gilgamesh, Ishtar became depressed and decided she would descend into the Underworld to be with Tammuz. So dressed in her finest garments, brilliant jewelry and her high crown, Ishtar entered the cave that leads into the Underworld. Irkalla’s realm was surrounded by seven walls, each with its own gate that had to be passed to get to the dark Place where the dead resided. 

When she got to the first gate, Ishtar called out to the watchman: “Watchman, please open this gate and let me enter!” The watchman’s faced peered at her from over the gate. He didn’t say anything, but he didn’t open the gate either. So she called out again: “Watchman, if you don’t open this gate for me I will force it open, I will break it down, and I will set free all the dead that reside in this dreadful dark place. I will set them free from their gloom and the rule of your merciless mistress and take them to the land of the living! The dead will be so plentiful on earth that they will take over from the living!”

Nedu, as the watchman was called, looked at this fine lady, her crowned head held high, in her splendid attire, and said: ”Please lady, don’t break down the gate. I will go and take your message to the Lady Irkalla. Please wait until I get back.” When Irkalla heard that Ishtar demanded to be admitted to her realm, she was terribly angry. She thought she would teach this intruder a lesson, and instructed her watchman to admit the proud lady. Nedu returned to the first gate, and opened all the bolts and locks. “Enter into the realm of Irkalla, fine lady”, he said. “Welcome to the place from where nobody ever returns.” As he spoke, he took Ishtar’s crown. She wanted to know why he had taken her crown. “Oh lady,” he said, “if you wish to enter you must submit to the law of Lady Irkalla!” She bent her head and went through the first gate.

Ishtar walked the short distance to the second gate. The watchman opened all the bolts and locks, and said: “Enter into the realm of Irkalla, fine lady. Welcome to the place from where nobody ever returns.” As he spoke, he took the eight pointed star which adorned her neck. She wanted to know why he had taken her jewel. “Oh lady,” he said, “this is the law of Lady Irkalla!” She bent her head, her radiance gone, and went through the second gate. 

Ishtar walked the short distance to the third gate. The watchman opened all the bolts and locks, and said: “Enter into the realm of Irkalla, fine lady. Welcome to the place from where nobody ever returns.” As he spoke, he took the gold and bejeweled bracelets from her wrists. She wanted to know why he had taken her bracelets. “Oh lady,” he said, “this is the law of Lady Irkalla!” She bent her head, her radiance gone, and without her magnificent gold ornaments, and went through the third gate. 

Ishtar walked the short distance to the fourth gate. The watchman opened all the bolts and locks, and said: “Enter into the realm of Irkalla, fine lady. Welcome to the place from where nobody ever returns.” As he spoke, he took the shoes off her feet. She wanted to know why he had taken her shoes. “Oh lady,” he said, “this is the law of Lady Irkalla!” She bent her head, her radiance gone, and without her magnificent gold ornaments, barefooted she went through the fourth gate. 

Ishtar walked the short distance to the fifth gate. The watchman opened all the bolts and locks, and said: “Enter into the realm of Irkalla, fine lady. Welcome to the place from where nobody ever returns.” As he spoke, he took the splendid veil that covered her face. She wanted to know why he had taken her veil. “Oh lady,” he said, “this is the law of Lady Irkalla!” She bent her head, her radiance gone, and without her magnificent gold ornaments, barefaced and barefooted she went through the fifth gate. 

Ishtar walked the short distance to the sixth gate. The watchman opened all the bolts and locks, and said: “Enter into the realm of Irkalla, fine lady. Welcome to the place from where nobody ever returns.” As he spoke, he took her magnificent outer robe. She wanted to know why he had taken her outer robe. “Oh lady,” he said, “this is the law of Lady Irkalla!” She bent her head, her radiance gone, and without her magnificent gold ornaments, without the protection of her outer robe, barefaced and barefooted she went through the sixth gate.

Ishtar walked the short distance to the seventh gate. The watchman opened all the bolts and locks, and said: “Enter into the realm of Irkalla, fine lady. Welcome to the place from where nobody ever returns.” As he spoke, he took her dress. She wanted to know why he had taken her dress, leaving her quite naked. “Oh lady,” he said, “this is the law of Lady Irkalla!” And naked now, she bent her head, her radiance gone, and without her magnificent gold ornaments, without the protection of her outer robe, barefaced and barefooted she went through the seventh gate, where she found Irkalla. 

Irkalla, the Queen of the Underworld had the head of a lioness and the body of a woman; in her arms she carried her pet, a deadly serpent. She summoned Belisari, the lady of the desert who was her scribe, and who came carrying the clay tablets on which all of Irkalla’s decrees would be written down. Behind these two the dead gathered. There was no light in their eyes; they were dressed not in cloth but feathers, and instead of arms and hands they had the wings of birds. They lived in darkness. Ishtar became frightfully anxious seeing them, and she wished she had never ventured in this dark place. She had expected to find Tammuz here, but now she realized that this was a hopeless quest. 

Desperate, she begged Irkalla to allow her to return to the land of the living. Irkalla uttered a cold and contemptuous laugh and when she spoke it was as if an icy wind blew against Ishtar’s naked body. Irkalla said: “Ishtar, you may be the Lady of the Gods, but you are in my realm now, and nobody returns from this place of darkness. This is called the House of Darkness for good reason, and whoever enters here, magistrate or warrior, king or shepherd, milkmaid or goddess, can never return. Whoever enters this house has no more need of light. Dust will be your bread and mud will be your meat. Your dress will be a cloak of feathers. The gates are already bolted behind you, lady!”

Having said this, Irkalla summoned Namtar, the demon of the plague. Namtar appeared from the darkness, a viper’s head on a human body, naked underneath a cloak made of bones, and eagles claws instead of feet. He embraced Ishtar, making sure that the plague spread over her whole body. Feathers grew on her, and the light disappeared from her eyes. She tasted dust and ate mud. All memory of her past existence, of her great love Tammuz, disappeared with the light.

On earth a great change came when Ishtar descended into the world. Love and desire became strangers to man and animal alike. Birds no longer sang. Bulls no longer searched out the cows. Stallions were no longer attracted to mares. Rams no longer cared for ewes. Wives no longer caressed their husbands when they returned from business or war. Husbands no longer longed to lie with their wives. The women in Ishtar’s temple became lonely, nobody wanted to spend time drinking and singing and making merry with them. 

Shamash, the sun god, was deeply perturbed when he saw the changes that had befallen earth. He could foresee the disaster that awaited earth. Without procreation, without regeneration, there would be no life left on earth once the people and animals who were there now died off. The beings that the gods had created would all be extinct. He knew this was because of Ishtar’s descent into the Underworld, but he also knew that his power was not great enough to overcome Irkalla. So Shamash went to see Ea, the great god, and told him that earth’s creatures were not renewing themselves. “How is this possible?” asked Ea. Shamash then related that Ishtar had descended to the Underworld, in search of Tammuz, and had not returned.

Ea then created a being he called Udushunamir, which he made devoid of all emotion or fear. With the power of all the gods, Ea sent him as an emissary to the Underworld court of Irkalla, where he would demand the water of life from the dark queen. Because Udushunamir had been created by Ea, the great god, Irkalla had no power over this creature, and could not stop it entering her realm. So Udushunamir entered the Underworld, and stood before Irkalla, where he demanded in the name of the great gods that Irkalla provide him with the water of life, and that Ishtar be brought from the darkness. Of course Irkalla was furious at this demand. Her body trembled with rage as she roared and cursed both Ishtar and the emissary and all the gods everywhere, but to no avail. Udushunamir, being devoid of all emotion or fear, was unaffected either by the terrible sights in this dark place or by Irkalla’s curses. Irkalla could do nothing but submit, and she ordered the water of life be given to this creature, and so it was. She then summoned Namtar and ordered him to bring Ishtar the Lady of the Gods from the Darkness.

Ishtar, covered in feathers and her feathers covered in dust, was brought before Udushunamir, who then liberally sprinkled the water of life all over her. The dust fell off Ishtar. The mud fell off Ishtar and the feathers and bird’s wings fell off her. She was alive again. So she stood before her enemy, Irkalla, her head still bowed, colourless, weaker than a newborn human, just as naked and shaking like a leaf in the storm, but dead no longer, Irkalla starred in fury at Ishtar but could not stop her leaving. 

Udushunamir guided her through the darkness to the seventh gate, where Nadu the watchman handed her the dress he had taken from her earlier. She covered her nakedness with it. Udushunamir guided her to the sixth gate. The watchman opened it and gave her back her outer garment, which she put on over her dress. Udushunamir guided her to the fifth gate. The watchman opened it and he handed her back her splendid veil. She took the veil and covered her bare face. Udushunamir guided her to the fourth gate, where the watchman handed her back her shoes. She put them on her bare feet, and proceeded through the fourth gate. Udushunamir guided her to the third gate. The watchman opened it and handed her back her bejeweled bracelets. She took the bracelets and put them on her bare wrists. Udushunamir guided her to the second gate. The watchman opened it and gave her back the magnificent eight pointed star. Ishtar accepted the jewel and put it back on her neck. Udushunamir guided her to the first gate. The watchman opened it and gave her back her high crown. She took it in her hands, and put it back on her head. Now Ishtar, her garments and ornaments reinstated, could leave the realm of Irkalla.

When she emerged from the cave, the earth was silent. There was no birdsong. No sounds came from the herds of cows and goats. No sailors’ songs came from the harbor. No music came from her temple. But as she walked from the cave an inner light shone bright inside her and her power returned, her neck straightened and her head bowed no longer, her splendor shone brilliantly and she walked as a goddess once more, a smile on her face she breathed in the air and felt the sun shine on her face. The stallion bayed and the bull bellowed. The rams reared high. Soldiers and merchants alike made excuses to rush home to feel their wives’ fond embraces. The women in Ishtar’s temple picked up their instruments and sang beguiling words to the men passing by below. All of creation rejoiced in the return of Ishtar. And all the gods rejoiced too, knowing that their creations would renew themselves and would survive to honor and serve them once more.

The Goddess Persephone is also taken to the underworld an is resurrected from death in the Spring.

Things to do for Ostara

Ostara is the spring festival, and the pagan pre-cursor to Easter, falling between the 20th and 22nd of March. Here are a list of easy things you can do to celebrate the festival at home!

  • Paint and decorate eggs! Hard boil them first and use vegetables to stain them or simply paint your designs onto them, they look lovely in a decorative bowl.
  • Collect a bunch of spring flowers, go outside with friends or while walking your dog and hunt for some pretty spring blooms. These might include daffodils, lesser celendines, dandelions, snow drops, primroses or blackthorn blossom. Be sure to be considerate with what you take, don’t take too much, and ensure to do your research first to make sure that none of the flowers you’re picking are endangered (such as bee orchids or cowslips). Place them in a pretty jug or vase with plenty of water to invite some life and spring freshness into your home. 
  • Bake bread! Any type of bread is good, but hot-cross-buns are traditional, the cross on representing the crucifixion to Christians, or the wheel of the year to pagans!
  • Do an Ostara-egg hunt, or an egg rolling competition. Simply line up your eggs with your fellow competitors at the top of a hill, and the first egg to reach the bottom wins! A great game for kids at this time of year, and a little different from the traditional egg-hunt. 
  • Light candles, place them in your window on Ostara Eve to symbolize your hope for the new season. 
  • Invite friends around and have an Ostara feast. Traditional seasonal foods include; lamb, rabbit, eggs, honey, bread, onions and leeks, potatoes, cakes, lemon, oranges, stews, soups and salads. 
  • Make an Ostara alter, dedicated to the goddess, or just the season itself. Decorate with painted eggs, rabbit/hare ornaments, candles, incense, fresh flowers and green and yellow cloth.

Have a blessed and safe Ostara everyone! <3

Ostara Blessings to all 

Today is the Spring Equinox. It is a Pagan Sabbat called Ostara. It is the time that day and night are at equal length both day and night have 12 hours.

On this day, light and dark are equal, but the light is surpassing the dark, the horned God is growing stronger, after his birth on the Winter Solstice.

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we look forward to the longer and warmer days. We notice the buds forming on the branches, the birds returning and animals coming out of hiding.

The young Sun God takes notice of the young maiden Goddess as they flirt with each other wildly and the stirrings within Them seem to be felt in all living creatures. All the world seems renewed, refreshed and bursting with possibilities.

The name for this Sabbat comes from the Teutonic Goddess Eostre. Her chief symbols are the bunny to represent fertility and the egg as it represents creation. We also celebrate the growing Sun God Cernunnos. Ostara is a time to celebrate spring and the rebirth of nature itself and the coming of Summer as well. Other Gods and Goddesses that are honored on this day are Ishtar and Persephone, who were resurrected from death in the Spring. Also Gods Pan, The Dagda, Apollo and Horus.

Ostara is primarily a celebration of rebirth and new life, observe all the new life beginning around you. Trees are starting to leaf, flowers are beginning to bud, in farms it is lambing and chick season. On Ostara we should plant seeds and make a garden, this is the perfect time to start a herb garden. We don’t only plant seeds in the physical world we should also plants seeds for the future in our minds, looking forward for the year to come. There is a gentle whispered promise of Summer and the bounty about to come into fruition.

The Egg
The egg (and all seeds) contains ‘all potential’, full of promise and new life. It symbolises the rebirth of nature, the fertility of the Earth and all creation. In many traditions the egg is a symbol for the whole universe. The 'cosmic’ egg contains a balance of male and female, light and dark, in the egg yolk and egg white. The golden orb of the yolk represents the Sun God enfolded by the White Goddess, perfect balance, so it is particularly appropriate to Ostara and the Spring Equinox when all is in balance for just a moment, although the underlying energy is one of growth and expansion.

The Hare
In Celtic tradition, the hare is sacred to the Goddess and is the totem animal of many lunar goddesses such as Hecate, Freya and Holda - the hare is a symbol for the moon. The Goddess most closely associated with the Hare is Eostre, or Ostara. The date of the Christian Easter is determined by the phase of the moon. The nocturnal hare, so closely associated with the moon which dies every morning and is resurrected every evening, also represents the rebirth of nature in Spring. Both the moon and the hare were believed to die daily in order to be reborn - therefore the Hare is a symbol of immortality. It is also a major symbol for fertility and abundance as the hare can conceive while pregnant. Over the centuries the symbol of the Hare at Ostara has become the Easter Bunny who brings eggs to children on Easter morning, the Christian day of rebirth and resurrection

Hot Cross Buns 
HCB are very ancient and eaten or baked on Ostara. In the Old Testament we see the Israelites baking sweet buns for an idol, and religious leaders trying to put a stop to it. The early church clergy also tried to put a stop to sacred cakes being baked at Easter. In the end, in the face of defiant cake-baking pagan women, they gave up and blessed the cake instead.

A Letter To Anyone Going To an Unsupportive Family This Easter:

Dear darling,

 Momma heard that you might have a hard time for the next couple of days. You’re strong, and entitled to your opinion. no matter what they say, know that at least we love you.

 You and M.O.D. can get through this fight together. He’s a pagan that’s going to sit through dinner with his relatives that have ties in the church, He wishes you a happy Eostre. 

 Try your best to stay calm in the face of adversity. It is a holiday, and should be pleasant for everyone. We are sorry that it may not be pleasant for you. If anything, you have the chocolate on sale to look forward to next week.

 Stay strong. Stay kind. Love yourself, and be gentle. This is the beginning of spring. It is a new dawn, and a new beginning for all. Momma hopes that you will feel refreshed and clean in the coming season. We’re so, so proud of you.

 Love,

Momma.