THE GODDESS ROOTS OF THE EASTER TALE
It is difficult to trace the exact roots of the original myth of Easter, for much Wisdom (e.g. teachings through stories and songs) has been lost due to the oppression that tribal cultures suffered and due their oral mode of transmission of knowledge. However, one of the most obvious connection that we nowadays can still trace to Easter comes to us from Ostara, the Germanic Pagan Goddess of Ancient Europe. To be clear, Ostara is connected to other fertility Goddesses found throughout the world and worshipped at different time in history (e.i. Astarte, Ashtaroth, Eastre, Ishtar, etc.). Ostara in particular represents Spring and the energy of fertility, love, sexuality and growth. Pagans worshipped Her to help Her bring fertility and growth onto the land.
In relation to Easter and the story of Jesus, Ostara similarly emerges from the Earth and re-awakens after a time of deep sleep (or death) during Winter. Both stories then carry the Wisdom of the cycle of life, death and rebirth — an important lesson about dynamics of Nature and life itself that every human being needs to learn. Why? Well, because, for example, our modern Western culture has us valuing constant growth and life over decline and death (that is essential to bring abouts life). As a result, we perhaps irrationally fear death and do not understand the importance of going inwards, retreating, taking time for ourselves and taking a break from the business of our lives in order to find balance and flourish again when the time is right. The main and important difference, however, between the Christian’s story of Easter and the myth of Ostara is that Jesus’ resurrection is masculine focused (androcentric) and anthropocentric. It ignores the role of Nature and our deep connection to Her, and it ignores the feminine aspect as the carrier of the potential for the cycle of life, death and rebirth.
In this story, we notice that Ostara is also tightly connected to the Maiden archetype who represents very similar energies to the Goddess: full potential, opportunity for growth and rebirth after the Winter (which is connected to the Crone archetype). The Maiden, one of the most fundamental archetype of the feminine psyche and development, reminds us to dream big. She is the innocent, yet powerful and sexual being who has not yet been conditioned to believe that her dreams will not come true. So she dreams, she imagines, she visions and creates with her beauty and purity. And by doing so, she manifests miracles on Earth!
So let Spring time be a time for us to reclaim Easter and our inherent power and beauty as human beings. Ostara comes to us in this season to connect to the Earth, to The Goddess, to the feminine essence of Nature and Her potential for growth for (re-)birth through her fertility and sexuality. Let this season be a time to celebrate our own growth, (re-)birth, fertility and sexuality! Ostara also comes to us to remind us to plant seeds (literally and also) in our psyche and in the cosmos: to dream the projects that we wish to see manifest as the year unfolds, as the flowers bloom and to benefit from the coming boost of energy (the spring!) that we are getting from Nature. All around us, growth is happening. And because we are inherently connected to Nature, it is important to follow Her patterns; to learn from Her and perhaps reconnect to more ancient ways of grasping Wisdom from the Earth: by observing the seasons, the flowers and understand the extent of our potential as human beings to manifest and to blossom.
*this article uses the words Nature, Earth and The Goddess interchangeably