Sunday, April 09, 2006


Melanie has asked me about Ostara. I thought I'd take a moment to explain my altar tradition. I am a Pagan, a person who celebrates the seasons and rythms of the year. I celebrate Christian holidays too, but I create altars around my house to honor various themes at different times. (The picture above is my Love Altar: that's Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles, various symbols of romantic love, and in back a Valentine done by dh last year that I framed.)

Eostar, the Spring Equinox, takes its name from the Goddess Eostar, Eostre, or Ostara, a Germanic Goddess of fertility and Spring. We celebrate this festival at the time when the day and night are equal in length. The balance of the year has shifted - Winter is on the wane and Spring officially begins.

Eostar is a joyful holiday, centered around symbols of rebirth and growth: eggs, seeds, baby animals. But Eostar also has a deeper meaning. Because this is the time of balance between dark and light, it is also the time when we examine all kinds of balance in our lives - in particular, the balance between life and death. Birth is a time when the gates between the worlds are open. The seeds that were buried in the ground return as new shoots. Bulbs sprout and flower. And the dead return from the Otherworld as new beings.

Ostara is the Goddess of dawn and new beginnings. Her name is similar to the word for the Christian Easter, because that holiday took its name from the ancient Pagan Goddess of Spring and rebirth. Another name in the same family is Ishtar, the Babylonian Goddess of the morning and evening stars. And let's not forget Esther, the Jewish queen whose story of courage is celebrated at the Spring festival of Purim.

We are all Related.


Blogger Melanie said...

Thanks for the explanation! Not being Pagan, I didn't know the background for your altar. I did know that when Christianity came along, the Christian holidays were incorporated into traditional Pagan ceremonies and celebrations. Thanks!

6:21 AM  

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