Eostre: Goddess of Spring and Ostara
Hear her song carried gently on the Spring breeze. It’s quiet right now, but the sound will grow louder as Ostara (the Spring Equinox) rounds the corner. Eostre Goddess of Spring is ripening and preparing to emerge as the maiden on the Spring Equinox. Full of youth and innocence, and yet ready to become much more.
Eostre Goddess of Spring in Maiden Form
The Goddess of Spring to pagans (old & new) is Eostre (pronounced O-star-ah). Her name is representative of the Spring Equinox and has been adapted to modern pagan customs. The Spring Equinox is also called Ostara (which is the pronunciation of Eostre’s name). Eostre Goddess of Spring represents the Maiden aspect of the Wiccan Triple Goddess – the Maiden, Mother, and Crone. The Maiden is young and pure, growing and blossoming in her youth and therefore represents birth and beauty. See Eostre’s face in the newborn lambs and hear her voice in bird-song. See the Goddess of Spring in the blooming tulips and sprouting patches of green grass. Who was Eostre Goddess of Spring to the ancient peoples of Europe? What is her original Ostara (or Easter) story?
Eostre Goddess & The Ancient Story of Spring
Have you ever wondered where the term “Easter” came from? The word isn’t written in the Bible, yet Christians refer to Jesus’ resurrection day as “Easter”. The term “Easter” actually originates with the Goddess of Spring’s name – Eostre. Eostre was the Goddess of the Spring and her reign began on the Vernal (Spring) Equinox. She was worshiped by the Germanic people of Europe before the rise of the Church. In Bede’s eighth century writings, he refers to Eostre as the Goddess who was worshiped in the Spring and by whom the holiday Easter is named after.
How the Church “Won” Easter
The Germanic people celebrated Eostre Goddess with huge feasts the entire month of the Spring Equinox (March). Apparently the merriment continued until the Christian Church spread throughout Europe and sought to convert the pagans to Christianity. Eostre-month had to be erased or diminished in some way to rid the countryside of Pagan Spring customs. So the Christian Church calculated that the first Sunday after the first full moon, directly following the Spring Equinox would be called “Easter” and would honor Jesus’ day of resurrection. What better way to honor his re-birth than to honor it in the Spring when the mother earth is being reborn?
Spring: The Promise of New Life
Spring was when our ancient ancestors celebrated the return of the Sun and its warmth, after surviving the torturous winter months. In particularly harsh winters, the people would gnaw on bones to quench their hunger. When Spring arrived, it offered promise for a new life and happiness. Think of this: it’s below twenty degrees and there’s no getting warm no matter how many furs you throw over you. There’s nothing left to eat but bones and bread crumbs. Then Spring comes. There are animals being born, the animals who have been in hibernation are awake again, and the earth is giving forth food once more. How thankful would you be? That’s how the ancient people of Europe felt, and so they gave thanks to the Goddess of Spring every year.
Eostre, Rabbits, Eggs, and Fertility!
Spring is a beautiful young woman, or Eostre Goddess, flanked by rabbits and a basket of Easter eggs in her hands. But what do the rabbits and eggs represent? Fertility! Eostre Goddess of Spring is also a representation of fertility, the earth’s fruitfulness getting ready to burst forth from the ground. And the rabbit connection goes deeper – in some old Germanic tales, Eostre’s consort is half-rabbit half-man!
How the Goddess of Spring Can Help You
Eostre rules over fertility, ask Eostre Goddess to bring fertility to you if you’re trying to conceive. Fertility doesn’t always relate to conceiving children. Also ask for fertility in your accomplishments (job, passion, endeavors). Eostre Goddess represents new life or rebirth. Are you looking for new beginnings or are you waiting around for creativity to hit you? Invite the Goddess of Spring to your circle and let her guide your creativity and provide new pathways to enlightenment. Don’t just ask Eostre to aid you this Spring, do her some favors too. Plant a tree, flowers, or veggies and give something back to the Earth and to Eostre Goddess. Adopt a rabbit or feed the wild rabbits in your backyard with left-over veggies or fruits. Or give something to a nearby shelter for children, in light of rebirth and new beginnings.