EOSTRE (OSTARA)

ĒOSTRE (OSTARA)

German goddess of light, morning, vegetation, renewal and growth. She was venerated by the German tribes in the mainland and the British Isles. Her name most probably originated from Old Germanic  *austrōn and signifies ‘dawn’.

ABOUT GODDESS

As in the case of many other pagan goddesses, not much is known about Ēostre, no exact information concerning her cult, statues or other items providing facts about the goddess remained to this day. She is only mentioned in De Temporum Ratione written by Anglo – Saxon monk Bede who mentions that during the pagan times the Anglo – Saxons were venerating her in the month named Ēosturmōnaþ for her sake (Eosturmonath, April). He points out, however, that her festival was replaced by the Christian Easter and the pagan customs had already been abandoned in the time he was writing his chronicle  (Bede lived in the 8th century).

In 19th century it was Jacob Grimm who was analysing the name *Ostara (‘Easter’ in Old Germanic) in his book Deutsche Mythologie. He associated it with the chronicles of Bede in spite of some researchers who claimed that the monk has made the cult of  Ēostre up. Grimm defended him and stated there was nothing in his chronicles that would seem improbable. He also pointed out that her cult was so deeply rooted in the Germanic culture that the Christian missionaries were not able to eradicate it and transformed it into the celebrations of Christ’s death and resurrection, keeping the month’s name (German ostermonat, ôstarmânoth). He also suggested that Old German adverb ôstar means ‘movement towards the rising sun’ and compared its forms in the language family (Old Norse: austr, Anglo – Saxon: ēastor, Gothic áustr) with the Latin stem auster hypothesizing that the goddess Austra’s cult had already extincted before the introduction of Christianity. He also showed some features that enabled the adaptation of a new religion into already existing beliefs: dawn as the light growing into power, bonfires lighted for the goddess, sacred water, maidens wearing white, the symbol of egg, sword dances and special kind of pastries.

Some linguists claim that Old English name Ēostre originates from Old German *austrōn meaning dawn, which itself most probably originates from Pra – Indoeuropean stem *aus- ‘to shine’. It implies the resemblance of Germanic Ēostre to Hellenic Eos who was also the goddess of dawn. Ēostre’s name preserved to this day, mostly as the name of Easter but also as in the case of Freyja in the geographical names of such locations as Eastry, Eastrea and Eastrington on the British Isles as well as Austrechild, Austrighysel, Austrovald and Ostrulf in the German speaking countries in the mainland*.

The existence of Ēostre’s cult was itself controversial among the scholars, many of them assumed that it was only Bede’s creation and identified Ēostre with Freyja. However, in 1958 around 150 Romano – Germanic votive inscriptions were discovered near Morken-Harff in Germany, they were all dedicated to matrona Austriahenea. They are datable to approximately 150 – 250 AD, some of them are incomplete, but most of them were in the good enough state to be read and translated. They can be therefore associated with the goddess Ēostre mentioned by Bede and allow to hypotesize that her cult was widespread among the Germanic tribes in the entire Europe.

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

According to scholars Ēostre was linked to an egg as the symbol of resurrection and potential as well as to hares and rabbits representing fertility (according to one of the legends they were bringing her light as the goddess of dawn).

Here’s the image of Ēostre by Johannes Gehrts from 1884

405px-Ostara_by_Johannes_Gehrts

 

The same image but this time it’s the version of Jacques Reich from 1909.

408px-Eástre_by_Jacques_Reich

DIVINATION MEANING

PERSON

A child or adolescent. Someone who is full of enthusiasm and is not afraid to take the risk. In negative meaning it is someone inexperienced who lacks perspective and has silly ideas. Somebody who originates from a large family.

ADVICE

The time of joy and renewal is coming. Return to the things that were bringing you joy in the past and what you have given up, be it studying, art, sport, or whatever that charges you with positive vibes. Feel as if you were a seed growing up in the ground after a long winter, you cannot stay anymore in the same place that you were and you have the power to emerge on the ground. This card is asking you  to think whether you fear changes. Perhaps you are afraid to leave the situation which is not satisfactory but seems to be safe. If this is the case, please consider the words of Anais Nin: And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

Adapt yourself to the cycle of nature, do not force too fast pace, remember that first you must sow and cultivate so that you can harvest later. Do not worry about the obstacles on your way, plants are never stopped by the obstacles, they omit them and keep growing upwards. Often changes are not visible in everyday life but looking from the perspective it is hard to believe how far we have come.

Keywords

End of troubles. New idea or venture. Creativity. Fertility. Beginning. Youth. Light. Spring. Potential. Growth. Energy. Optimism. Parenthood.

LOVE

If you are in the relationship: a new partner. Renewal in already existing relationship or return of the person from the past.

If you are single: new emotion is on its way, meeting someone who will make you feel butterflies in your stomach and  make you bloom.

FINANCES

New work or career. Starting studies. Restructuring the firm. Day shift.

HEALTH

Growth in height or weight. Cells renewal. Easiness of getting pregnant. Endangered parts of the body: reproductive system.

CARDS

Ēostre in the Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

Ēostre in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

 

Ēostre in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue (as Ostara)

Ēostre in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

 

Ēostre in The Goddess Oracle by Hrana Janto&Amy Sophia Marashinsky

Ēostre in The Goddess Oracle by Hrana Janto&Amy Sophia Marashinsky

 

Ēostre according to Thalia Took*

Ēostre according to Thalia Took

 

Ēostre in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

Ēostre in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

 

Ēostre in The Goddess Power by Cordelia Brabbs

Ēostre in The Goddess Power by Cordelia Brabbs

 

*This image does not belong to The Goddess Oracle Deck by Talia Took but was posted on the authors page: http://www.thaliatook.com/AMGG/eostre2.html
Based on English Wikipedia.

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2 responses to “EOSTRE (OSTARA)

  1. Pingback: Hausos, Eostre, Ostara, Vesna – Dawn Spring – mydevotionstoDEA

  2. Pingback: Happy New Year! | Land of Goddesses

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