Goddess Gift E-Zine      
April 2009            

The Goddess Ostara


The goddesses we celebrate in springtime . . . goddesses like Ostara, Persephone, Inanna and Ishtar. . .  each bring us powerful messages of awakening and personal growth. They give us the motivation and the energy we need to pursue our dreams.

Just as tender buds valiantly push through the earth to seek out the sun, in springtime our own lives are refilled with vital energy to awaken and grow. And the goddess Brigid is there to remind us that spring is the time to make room in our hearts for a passion for all things new.

To my way of thinking there is no celebration more graceful than Easter, a holiday where ancient pagan and Christian traditions are so beautifully interwoven to call our attention to the eternal cycle of rebirth and the need for renewal in our lives.


The Goddess Ostara and the Story of the Easter Bunny

Ostara, the Goddess of Dawn (Saxon), who was responsible for bringing spring each year, was feeling guilty about arriving so late. To make matters worse, she arrived to find a pitiful little bird who lay dying, his wings frozen by the snow. Lovingly, Ostara cradled the shivering creature and saved his life.

Legend has it that she then made him her pet or, in the X-rated versions, her lover. Filled with compassion for him since he could no longer fly because of his frost-damaged wings, the goddess Ostara turned him into a rabbit, a snow hare, and gave hime the name Lepus.

She also gave him the gift of being able to run with astonishing speed so he could easily evade all the hunters.  To honor his earlier form as a bird, she also gave him the ability to lay eggs (in all the colors of the rainbow, no less), but he was only allowed to lay eggs on one day out of each year.

Eventually Ostara lost her temper with Lepus (some say the raunchy rabbit was involved with another woman), and she flung him into the skies where he would remain for eternity as the constellation Lepus (The Hare), forever positioned under the feet of the constellation Orion (the Hunter).

But later, remembering all the good times they had once enjoyed, Ostara softened a bit and allowed the hare to return to earth once each year, but only to give away his eggs to the children attending the Ostara festivals that were held each spring.


This telling of Ostara's gift to us of Easter eggs and the Easter bunny is adapted from the myths of the goddess Ostara found at www.goddessgift.com.

Ostara was the ultimate 'luscious lady'. . . so much so that the female hormone, estrogen, got its name from her!  Since she brings the dawn from the East, one of her names was Eostre , literally the Eastern Star.

And celebrating all that juicy estrogen running through our veins . . .  author, creative genius, poet and friend Lisa Sarasohn kindly shares these delightful insights into the goddess Ostara/Eostre with us.

 

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Eostre: Celebrating Easter

Eostre slides into April,
     stringing springtime along,
puts all Her eggs,
     every promise she's ever made us,
into the basket of Her belly,
hires Her friend the Hare—
     She's hung his nightsky portrait
      in the moon's full circle frame—
to help Her hatch the possibilities.

Eostre's Hare broadcasts Her blessings,
     flings them from Her basket into ours.
Easter's Bunny is bearing eggs
     estrogenic, estro-generous
arrives in kind with the season's timing,
arrives in tune with Her estrous cycling.

Now in April, as in days ancestral,
we hip hope through the feast of Eostre

brittle becomes supple
barren becomes bountiful
harsh becomes soothing
parched becomes juicy
frozen becomes flowing
drab becomes flamboyant
rigid becomes yielding
strained becomes flagrant
dormant becomes alive.

Lisa Sarasohn is the author of The Woman's Belly Book: Finding Your True Center for More Energy, Confidence, and Pleasure (New World Library, 2006). For book excerpts plus information on her workshops and instructional DVD -- and more poetry -- visit her website at loveyourbelly.com


Inquiring Minds Want to Know!!!

More than any other modern holiday, the celebration of Easter is full of fascinating examples of ways in which pagan practices have been incorporated into Christian traditions.  Rather than including all this information (albeit, fascinating) in this issue, I'll just pose the questions and allow you to follow the links if your heart desires. 

Hope you enjoy!

Something old, something new,
Something borrowed, something . . . ???

Read about : Pagan traditions in Christian celebrations

Why do we 'hide' Easter Eggs?   

Here's the scoop on: Easter Egg Hunts

What's the deal with food at Easter?

 Easter Meats & Easter Treats

What was the world's first Easter celebration.
(Hint: it was called 'The Day of Joy')

The Goddesses Ishtar and Inanna and the First Resurrection

We'll be back next month with more goddess-ness and the winning entries in the Diva's Diner competition.

 

Until then . . .

In closing,
   a reminder to..
.

Take every opportunity you can find
to Celebrate something in your life,
or in this wondrous world.

Sharon