The Goddess Gift Newsletter
~ Growing Pains: The Return of Spring
~ The Goddess Ostara and the Pagan Traditions of Easter
~ The Celtic Goddess Brigid and the Meaning of Imbolc
~ Searching for the Silver Lining
Many moons ago (more than either of us care to remember)
my seven year old daughter came to me and pointed her
bell-bottoms to bring them to my attention. The hems were
rapidly encroaching upon the territory usually reserved for capris!
"We need to go shopping. I think I've had another
"growth sprout!", she exclaimed.
Growth sprout, indeed! I know she meant
"growth spurt", but "sprout" really does seem, well . . .
I am reminded of this delightful malapropism
each year when spring arrives.
Today, in my part of the world, the daffodils are
bursting out and all green things are sprouting, filled with
all that marvelous possibility of growth. New life is
If asked, all those bulbs and buds would no doubt tell you that all
that budding and sprouting can indeed be a tad
uncomfortable and disconcerting at times. After all, that's
why we talk of "growing pains".
But grow we must. It's what we were put on this earth to
who we are and
who we are and
all that uniqueness out into the world.
In the spring we marvel at the newness of life around us.
Intuitively, and with emotion,
we enjoy the
richness of all the possibilities that growth
The Goddess Ostara:
The Origin of Estrogen
and the Story of the Easter Bunny
The history of Easter is full of rich associations
between the Christian faith and the seemingly
unrelated practices of the early pagan
religions. From the
first account of resurrection
found in the myths of
the ancient goddess Ishtar to Easter egg hunts and
the annual appearance of the Easter bunny,
contemporary Easter traditions have their roots
in ancient myths and pagan celebrations.
Easter is named for a Saxon fertility goddess who was
known by the names of Oestre or Eastre (The "female
hormone" estrogen derives from her name.)
In Germany, she was called by the name of Ostara,
means "the shining light arising
from the east". In addition to bringing the dawn
each day, it was her divine responsibility to
bring springtime to the earth each year.
One year the Goddess Ostara was a bit tardy
and arrived late with
her gift of spring. Feeling guilty about
her role in allowing the lengthy winter, she went out
of her way to save the life of a poor bird
whose wings had been frozen by the snow.
Filled with compassion for him because he could no
longer fly, Ostara turned the poor bird into a snow hare.
named him Lepus and
made him her pet or, as several versions have it,
She also favored him with the gift of being
able to run at incredible speeds so he could
evade all hunters. To honor
his earlier life as a bird, Ostara also granted him
the power to lay eggs (in all the colors of the
But soon Ostara noticed a "funny feeling in her
gut", a feeling that persuaded her that
something was not quite right. Alas, her
suspicions were soon confirmed.
The randy little rabbit had gone behind her back
and was fooling around with some bunnies.
Furious with his infidelity, the goddess Ostara,
him into the heavens where he remains to this
as the constellation Lepus (The Hare).
When Ostara eventually
calmed down about the betrayal, she
lightened his punishment and allowed him to
return to earth each year, but only if he would give away his
rainbow-colored eggs to the children attending
the festivals held in her honor every spring.
And that is the story of how the Easter bunny
came to be.
Read more about the colorful pagan history of Easter
(including the shocking reason that we "hide" the Easter eggs)
Easter History and Traditions
The Celtic Goddess
Brigid and the Message of Imbolc
goddess Brigid, and the
festival of Imbolc held in her honor each year
when the lambs are a'birthing, remind us to nourish
all the tender new urges that try to establish themselves and
become part of our being. The
myths of the goddess Brigid also remind us to be gentle and
forgiving when we face up to our own weaknesses and failures.
As I've said
before, I see little point in agonizing over mistakes
and imperfections. It's ever so much better to view them
as learning experiences.
Or as a wise one once said,
"The true enemy of the good is the perfect."
I gave up all
dreams of perfection years ago. Life has been easier
Instead I try to
look for . . .
The Silver Lining
(re: the humor in previous mailing)
Someone wrote to say she didn't find John
Cleese's message to the citizens of the USA at all funny.
Many others wrote to say, "Send dry pants, I
laughed so hard that I . . ." (You get the picture!)
And several wrote to say "Loved it, but . . .
(gasp) John Cleese of Monty Python fame didn't write it."
Mea culpa! They are right. According to
a leading authority on internet and urban myths, it was
apparently just one of those things that "sprouted overnight"
on the web, eventually getting pruned and fertilized by a
of Cleese-like minds. Then someone had the brilliant idea to honor the
comedian by attaching his name. According to snopes the
"starter" was a short memo posted on an internal newsgroup at
his employer's by Alan Baxter of Rochester, UK.
Sorry, John . . . you can't take credit for this
one. But what a wonderful
muse you turned out to be!
And I send waves of gratitude to those who wrote
to alert me to the error, for it led to the discovery of the
equally delightful "US citizens respond to John Cleese
(or whoever you were)" letters that were no doubt actually written by
If you missed all the fun, or simply want some
more of it, check out the lively correspondence between British
and the US contingents by
using this link:
The Great Mother Speaks
working on a neat idea to answer some of your most frequent
questions about discovering your goddess type via the
and will be back soon to share it with you . . . and also some thoughts on the moon goddesses and the
womanly art of intuition.
Till then, a reminder to . . . .
Notice the wondrous world around you,
feel its vibrations in your gut and
celebrate the possibilities in your life,
then sprout and grow!