THE GODDESS ROOTS OF THE EASTER TALE

THE GODDESS ROOTS OF THE EASTER TALE

The Goddess roots of the Easter tale

CLARITY BARTLEET

What is Easter really about? We all know the story of Jesus resurrecting and exiting a cave after three days of death, but what does this mean? And where did it story originate from?Like many Christian tales and celebrations, Easter and its symbolism and myth were borrowed from a formerly uncovered universal Wisdom. A Wisdom that was transmitted from the Earth — from The Goddess Herself — to tribal cultures from all around the world who worshipped Her. In fact, we find similar stories and symbols among many different, scattered and once remote cultures all around the globe.

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.

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The story of Jesus’s resurrection is then a distorted version of some very important lesson and a fundamental Wisdom about about the dynamics of Nature and our of our own Nature that might leave us unsatisfied and confused. Hence, the importance of questioning any religious stories that aim at subliminally explaining the dynamics of the world and our role and potential within it. In fact, we should always question or at least contemplate any story that we are exposed to, especially contemporary ones delivered through the impactful images of modern movies and technologies. And instead of passively exposing ourselves to these stories, we should perhaps more actively research more ancient stories and tales that incorporate the feminine wisdom, the universal Wisdom from the Earth. The story of Ostara is one of these stories. It is the story of a not so perfect and not so virgin Goddess worth worshipping nevertheless that teaches us about our human Nature and potential. Here it is:Ostara is the Goddess responsible for bringing Spring each year. But one year, as she arrived late, the first thing that she saw was a pitiful little bird who lay dying in the snow, his wing frozen by the cold. Ostara felt so guilty! She cradled the shivering creature into her arms and eventually saved his life. Feeling sorry that the poor wingless bird could no longer fly, she turned him into a snow hare called Lepus and gave him the ability to run rapidly so he could evade all hunters. Also. to honor his earlier life as a bird, she gave him the ability to lay eggs in all the colors of the rainbow. Ostara eventually took Lepus as a pet and they became lovers. That’s right! The Goddess and the bunny. Together they galloped abouts the prairies and made love in the fields as Pagans used to — to spread fertility on the land. But one day, Ostara lost her temper with her passionate lover’s numerous affairs. Filled with anger, she grabbed him by the tail and swung him around and around over her head and threw him into the sky where he would remain for eternity as the constellation Lepus (The Hare) forever positioned under the feet of Orion, The Hunter constellation. Much later, remembering all the good times they had enjoyed together, Ostara softened and allowed Lepus to return to Earth once every year. But only during her own Festival and only to give away his colorful eggs to the children there. And this is how the “Easter Bunny” came about…

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

 

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