While there is a goddess named Ostara, there is also a holiday. Today’s post is about the holiday, versus the deity. (Ostara the diety will be on “The Gods” closer to the holiday!)
Before we get to what Ostara is, I would like to talk about Easter. What? Easter? On a heathen blog? Why yes! I think it is interesting, and important to discuss this! Does Easter sound familiar? (Besides it just being a Christian holiday?) Yes? Well it should! Everything about Easter, save the Christ part, was taken from heathenry. (As were most, if not all Christian holidays). Even the name! Easter comes from the Anglo-Saxon name Eostre (See the similarities?). Now, Eostre is a god of spring, rebirth and fertility, and in some cases the dawn. Now, Eostre is another name for Ostara. (beliefs in paganism and heathenism are/were very similar throughout all of Europe, but we use the Scandinavian names for things since they are the most preserved, but it does not necessarily mean that they are the only ones!) See the connection now! Our holiday of Ostara has turned into Easter! From the colored eggs to the giants rabbit! (The rabbit is one of the symbols, and favorite animals of Ostara/Eostre, and the giving of colored eggs was a like giving someone the blessings of fertility and life.) Without heathenism, there would not be an Easter as it is today! Do many Christians know this? Of course not! TAC’s goal is not just to educate other heathens ;).
Ostara, or the High Feast of Ostara, in the northern hemisphere, falls around March 20th. At this time, it is the Spring Equinox, the end of winter and the start of spring. The start of a new time. A time of growth, life and rebirth. If winter is death, then spring is life. That is what Ostara represents. The coming of life and light back into the world. It is a time of happiness, fertility, and growth. As the world grows around us, we do as well. The coming of spring shows that we have survived another year without the coming of Ragnarok, or the end of the world. (It actually means the twilight of the gods, in some interpretations at least). How does this show that Ragnarok is not upon us? Well, for the simple reason that winter has ended. It is said that Ragnarok will follow a great winter, a winter that lasts three years without a summer in between. The spring equinox shows that this has not happened, and that we may continue with out lives.
Ostara is a time to honor Frigg, Freya, Frey, Ostara (Eostre), Nerthus, the vaettir and Jord. The powers of the land and fertility. As this is a time of rebirth and fertility of not only humans, but of nature and the land itself, it is appropriate to honor these beings. Of course you may honor different deities as is your right. You cannot do it wrong! Generally however, it is a time to honor the mentioned holy powers. Without them, we would not have the coming spring rebirth of the land.
There are many ways that heathens today celebrate Ostara. As I cannot list all of the possible ways, I shall tell you what I plan to do. I will hold a blot/offering and libation to the beings I mentioned earlier. I will also, in whatever fashion I can, have a feast. It is hard to have feast as an individual, so most likely I will just make food I would not normally have, and offer some of it, along with my prayers to The Holy Powers.
Festival of Ostara (Eostre), the Spring Goddess. This is a festival of renewal, rejoicing and fertility, although for most of the Northern People, the forces of Winter are still at full sway. In ancient times, the gift of colored eggs to one’s friends and loved ones was a way of wishing them well for the coming season; a magical ritual of prosperity and fecundity. The rabbit was the symbol of this festival as well because of it’s re-emergence during this season, and for its reproductive ability. These two rituals have survived into the modern holiday of Easter (which derives its name from Eostre) as Easter eggs and the Easter bunny. Like most ancient heathen rituals, they are relegated into the world of children; held for naught among adults; but the race memory lingers on.
Well I think that just about does it for Ostara! FWI I am going to be updating the holiday tab on my blog, so you can go to the holidays, and there will be a drop down menu with all of my holiday posts! Of course, when we actually get to those holidays I shall be reposting them!
Hail Ostara! Hail the Holy Powers of rebirth and fertility! May your Ostara celebrations, however you go about them go well! Hail!