You can now follow Horrific Knits on Facebook! The Horrific Knits Page You can also like the page using the widget on the side bar. You can follow me on Twitter through the side bar as well.
1 Year Ago- Radio Silence
I wasn’t sure what week to put this on because Ostara was last week but Easter isn’t for another 2 weeks…but I’m just going to do it now.
Ostara, or Eostre, is a Germanic goddess from whom the word Easter is derived. A fertility and/or seasonal goddess, her recognizition was marked with water, the color white, bonfires, eggs, and other images that are now more commonly associated with Easter. The hare may or may not be connected with her role in the recreation of natural (crops and such) fertility as well, though there is suggestion that the connection may be stronger in relation to Freya- another dominant female deity, though one of a different pantheon. However, it’s been argued that that connection is even weaker than with Ostara, where the connection would seem to be more obvious. Regardless of whether or the connection holds, the link between rabbits and fertility should be fairly obvious…
It should be noted that in terms of certain neopagan paths, many of the traditional Ostara markers have been rolled into Beltaine which falls in May. The bonfire connection is much stronger there, with the act of jumping the fire to bless the coming year and the emphasis on fertility. Ostara as a festival on the other hand is more about the return of spring and promise of fertility- such as the planting of crops, whereas Beltaine is more about the growth of crops, birth, and more literal forms of fertility.
However it should be noted that in Beltaine, it’s suggested in some paths that relationships and sexuality should be avoided for fear of insulting the recently reunited divine masculine and feminine, which is a proscription not in place for Ostara. Ostara is as much about rebirth as she/it (the festival) is about fertility and the emphasis is about the shift out of winter in the same way that Candlemass/Imbolc is the returning of the light promised at Yule. Falling on the equinox, Ostara is quite literally the return of spring.
The Legend in Popular Culture
It’s been argued that most of the ‘commercial’ trappings of Easter, including the ham, have much stronger historica ties to Ostara and Ostara like celebrations than to do with any other, with their emphasis on rebirth and return of the light. I’m not arguing for or against it, but it is a historical theory that these activities and images (especially eggs) date back farther than Easter celebrations.