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Ostara - Where Easter Really Came From

March 20th 2008 13:40
Ostara - (Oh-star-ah) is the ancient German celebration of the Virgin goddess of spring. It is for her that this sabbat is named. Ostara was a sabbat of great importance to the Greeks, Romans, Nordic and Germanic lands. The majority of our customs today date back to those ancient times.

In keeping with the early church's practice of "grafting" saintly feast days onto any pagan festival they could not eradicate, it assigned St. Patrick his feast day near the time of the vernal equinox, which generally falls on March 21/22. It is said he was kicked out of Ireland repeatedly and finally his procession reached "tara" (the seat of the government) to present his reformed religion to the HIgh King on Easter Sunday.

At Ostara, the Teutons honored their goddess of spring, Eostre-for whom the Christian holiday of Easter is named. The Norse also honored their virgin goddess and celebrated her mating with the young god. This event is now celebrated among most pagan circles during Beltaine. Sexual relations were almost mandatory on Ostara Eve as were a communal meal featuring foods associated with fertility, i.e. cake, honey and eggs.

The Greco-Roman tradition honored Ceres, their grain goddess from Ostara till first harvest. It was beleived that she would go from field to field blessing the newly sown crops. Rituals to her were specifically meant to insure she would bless the fresh tilled fields.

Another ritualistic icon that was appropriated by the Christians (as a symbol of death), was the lily. It was once a flower that signified life to the pagans and was used to adorn altars and temples to Ostara. A little know fact: Young men would present a lily to the female they were courting, and in those times a lily was almost as significant as a diamond ring is today.

The tradition of wearing new spring clothes on Easter is actually an ancient pagan tradition.
It was considered extremely bad luck to wear new clothes before Ostara. The Teutons would work in secret throughout the winter so that on Ostara they could celebrate in their new finery.

The lamb was another symbol of Ostara and was sacred to all the virgin goddess in ancient Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The symbol of the lamb was so widely accepted that it carried over into the Jewish celebration of Passover and the Christians Easter.

By far, the most significant symbol of Ostara is the egg. SInce ancient times, the egg has symbolized new life and has been held in reverence as a sacred object. The eggs were carried as fertility amulets, placed on spring altars and given as cherished gifts.
The story of the Easter bunny and his eggs actually comes from a pagan story that goes something like this: A lowly rabbit so wanted to please the goddess Eostre that he decorated some eggs, and placed them at her feet. She was so pleased that she wished to share her joy with the world. The rabbit, honoring her wishes, went throughout the world leaving behind these decorated gifts of life.

Pagan Egg Colors: What They Mean:
Here is a list of the colors ancient pagans used to color their eggs and what those colors actually meant to them.

RED: New life, vitality, lust, sexual desire.
ORANGE: Color of the god, Summer, attraction
YELLOW: Creativity, knowledge, intellect
GREEN: Color of the Earth Mother, prosperity, fertility
BLUE: Healiing, peace, meditation, cold, robbin eggs, spring, new life, the virgin goddess
VIOLET: Tranquility, healing, end of quarrels
WHITE: Purification, barrier against negativity, the Virgin Goddess
BLACK: Mystery, absorption, the Crone Goddess
SILVER: The triple Goddess, the moon, spirituality, Physicism
GOLD: The sun, the god, activity, money, fire
BROWN: The earth, animals, autumn
PINK: Romantic love, peace

When you're coloring your eggs this year, keep in mind what you want each egg to bring into your life, or represent to you and those around you. Perhaps you have someone in mind you'd like to give a pink egg to?

Since the egg was the symbol of life, many traditions would celebrate Ostara by burying the eggs in the ground, thus insuring that the crops and gardens would be inbued with renewed life. Eggs were planted in window boxes, barns and stalls and eaten by anyone wishing to receive life giving benefits.

DId you know that hot cross buns, were pagan long before they became a symbol of Easter? The actual symbol on the orignal buns, or bread was the "Sun Wheel" which was the symbol of perfect balance at the equinox.

Usually, the spring equinox is the time of planting a new garden. If it's in the yard, on a farm o simply some herbs in bots on your patio. Now is the time to think of what you'd like to plant and see grow in your life. Herbs for cooking, medicinal herbs, perhaps a tomatoe plant or tow? Spring is sprung and unless you live in the very far north where there is still snow on the ground. You can celebrate Ostara, by either planting seeds or by outlining how your want your garden to grow.

Spring is definitely a time when some pagans forget that this is their time as well. With St. Patricks Day, and Easter at the forefront, we often forget that Ostara is our time to celebrate the rebirth of the Mother. Write a ritual and walk the perimiter of your new garden, bury some protective herbs and an egg or two in your garden so that their energies can fuse with the earth and what will be planted there. Host an egg painting party for those you know, spend some quality time with friends and family. Host a "welcome spring" party allowing the blending of traditions. Not everyone needs to know (if you don't want them to) that you're celebrating a pagan holy day.

Ostara is a time of balance, of the time when light becomes triumphant over darkness, when the earth begins to feel the warmth of the sun on her face and when the seeds of new beginnings sprout to life once more.

And so it is I wish you a blessed Ostara, Happy Easter and Welcome Spring!

White Willow

"The Sabbats" by Edain McCoy

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2 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by jon

March 25th 2008 07:09
Hi -- I've sent you an email already but sometimes they don't get through to free email accounts. Would you like a domain for this blog? If so send an email to charles -at- (change the -at- into a @)and he will be able to set one up for you.

You may also need to add the email address admin -at- to your address book in order to receive Orble admin emails in the future.


(Guy who runs Orble with Charles)

Comment by celestial elf

February 19th 2011 22:27
Great Post Thanks White Willow
Thought that you might enjoy my Eostre/Equinox machinima film, with Lisa Thiel's beautiful song Ostara
Really Long Link
bright blessings ~

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