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The Easter 2024 Orphic Essay-with-Soundtrack:

"The Many Eostres / Easters: A Choice of Rebirth Hallelujahs" 

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 Introduction to Easter: the Vernal Equinox, Spring & Eostre/Ostara 

Because the Easter holiday falls around the time of the Spring Equinox, it  is the Christian version of an ancient, pagan Springtime festival. The Anglo-Saxon Eostre, the goddess of dawn and springtime, and the Teutonic Ostara, goddess of the dawn and fertility (both goddesses associated with hares and eggs), are today most associated with the Spring season in Neopagan circles. The Spring in many cultures is traditionally recognized as the time of rebirth, and thus a time for great festivals. 

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click on image to expand for reading

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Easter is a "movable feast" and does not have a fixed date. However, it is always held on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25. Over a 500-year period (from 1600 to 2099 CE), it just so happens that Easter will have most often been celebrated on either March 31 or April 16. Around Easter time, neopagans will greet each other with "Happy Ostara" instead of "Happy Easter." They will also ritually honor the goddess of Spring as "Blessed Ostara" (or for some "Blessed Eostre").

Eostre or Eastra was an Anglo-Saxon goddess of the dawn. Her name comes from an Indo-European root word aus, meaning "to shine," from which also comes Eos and Aurora, the Greek and Roman names of the dawn goddess. (Her name may also derive from an earlier ausrion, meaning "morning"). Her holiday was celebrated near the Spring Equinox, as Easter is celebrated on the Sunday following the full moon that follows or falls on the Spring Equinox. Thus, Eostre or Eastra is a goddess of Spring. She is especially honored by dawn rites (as is still part of the Easter tradition). The same Indo-European root aus gives us "east," the direction of the dawn, and on the Spring Equinox the Sun rises due East. In Old High German, we learn of the goddess Ôstara and her connection to dawn and the east. (Again, the word Ostr can be linked to the Latin word aurora and the Greek word eos, which both mean "dawn.")

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Eostre-Ostara Spring Equinox goddesses with egg 

Thematic Images for Eostre & Ostara, Goddesses of the Dawn & Spring

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Eostre & Ostara derive from Proto-Indo-European goddess of dawn. They are comparable to Eos, the  goddess of down in Greek mythology, and Aurora, the goddess of dawn in Roman mythology. "Ôstara, Eástre seems therefore to have been the divinity of the radiant dawn, of upspringing light, a spectacle that brings joy and blessing, whose meaning could be easily adapted by the resurrection-day of the Christian’s God."


~ Jacob Grimm, Teutonic Mythology

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"The Gates of Dawn" (Draper)

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"Dawn" (Frederic)

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"Sunrise" (Varentsova-Rousseva)

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Eostre Images

Ēostre is an Anglo-Saxon (Germanic) goddess goddess of the dawn and associated with springtime.  By way of the Germanic month bearing her name (Northumbrian: Ēosturmōnaþ), Ēostre is said to be the namesake of the festival of Easter. Great feasts were held in Ēostre's honor among the pagan peoples of Northern Europe. Her holiday was celebrated near the Spring Equinox (as Easter is celebrated on the Sunday following the full moon that follows or falls on the Spring Equinox). Thus, Ēostre can be seen as a goddess of Spring. In her various forms, Ēostre is said to be a “Spring-like fertility goddess” associated with dawn and connected to numerous traditions and deities indigenous to Northern Europe. (The name Ēostre comes from Northumbrian Old English. A variation, Ēastre, comes from West Saxon Old English. Another variation is Ôstara, which comes from Old High German. Etymologically, both Ēostre and Ôstara have been, by way of linguistic reconstruction, traced back to a Proto-Germanic goddess with the name of Austrō. Ēostre and Ôstara are thus seen as basically the same goddess with different names.)

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Ostara Images

Ostara is a Germanic (Teutonic) goddess associated with springtime. Her themes are fertility and rebirth and her symbols are eggs and hares. She presides over renewal, fertility and fruitfulness. She represents Spring's life force and earth’s renewal. Depicted as lovely as the season itself, in earlier writings Ostara was also the goddess of dawn, a time of new beginnings (Spring being the figurative dawn of the year). Ostara is often depicted as a youthful and vibrant goddess, embodying the essence of nature's awakening. Her name is linked to the festival of Ostara, which marks the spring equinox and celebrates the rebirth of life. Devotees of Ostara honor her during this time, expressing gratitude for the return of warmth and the emergence of new life in the natural world. She is celebrated in pagan and neopagan traditions as a symbol of the Spring season's renewal and growth.

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