Reflections on Ostara, Part Four: Honoring Ostara

Well, in a way, one could say that Eostre really is the 'reason for the season.' She gave Her name not only to our Heathen and Pagan holiday of Ostara/Eostre, but also to the Christian celebration of Easter. This was one Goddess Who just would not go away! For all that, like with Hreðe, we really don't know all that much about Her. Bede wasn't terribly forthcoming in his de Temporibus Ratione, and aside from a minor notation in the Heimskringla, that's really the only source of information we have on this Goddess.

We do know that the name Ostara or Eostre means "to shine," and scholars of Proto-Indo-European studies connect Her to the Greek Eos and Sanskrit Ushas, both Goddesses of sunrise and the dawn. Scholar Rudolf Simek further suggests that She is a "spring-like fertility Goddess" (Simek, p. 74). Obviously Her primary symbols are the rabbit and the egg, indicative of fertility and potentiality.

I'm making an intuitive leap here, but I'd also posit that, given the delight children seem to take in Her holiday (or at least those folk customs that have come down to us), She is a Goddess of young children, or childhood as well. As sunrise awakens the day, driving back the darkness of night, so She awakens the land from the dark slumber of winter. She is a Goddess of new beginnings, new life, the quickening of the land and by extension, of pregnancy and birth. The egg as Her symbol is not only indicative of the potential for new life, but for hope as well, and that is no small thing at all, especially in the uncertain times in which we live. Our ancestors' world was uncertain too, filled with the potential for far more physical peril than we, on a daily basis, face. But ours is not without its struggles, its fears, its tragedies and harm. We need our Deities of hope and hope is very much Eostre's gift.

She is also a Goddess of fertility, evidenced in part by the fact that the rabbit is Her symbol. Rabbits are powerful symbols of fertility and fecundity. I would encourage women who wish to conceive to make special offerings to Eostre at this time. She is a Goddess Who blesses childbirth. (The healing Goddess Hlif can also help in this.) I would also encourage those mothers who have recently had children to make offerings of thanks, perhaps even asking Her protection on the newborns. Older children can be gifted with stuffed rabbits, blessed in Her name, or given rabbit charms blessed in Her name with the wish for health and protection.

Eostre is about potential and progress, birth, growth, and regeneration. This is what captures Her attention; these are the realms in which She moves. Children, by their very nature, embody those things inherently; and I believe based on my own experience with Her that She is a tremendously kind Goddess Who would look on a mother's prayers for her children with grace and benevolence.

In the end, this is yet another of our Deities that we shall really only know by virtue of our willingness to engage one-on-one with Them. We shall learn about Her through the act of honoring Her. I encourage my readers to consider setting up an altar, or holding a ritual, or laying out an offering to Her this month. Post your prayers and insights here. Let's work together to deepen our knowledge and understanding of this very special Goddess. May She be hailed!

Two Prayers in Honor of Ostara

Prayer to Eostre

I praise Eostre, Goddess of the Dawn;
rising mighty in the east, You bless us.
I praise Eostre, Goddess of the fertile fields.
With victory and fruitful luck, You nourish us.
I praise Eostre, Goddess of new beginnings.
With strength and resilience, You fortify us.
Shine Your light upon us, Holy Goddess.
Make our words and deeds mighty in Your eyes.
Replenish us daily with Your light.

We hail You, Gracious Goddess of the dawn.
We hail You, Eostre, after Whom Spring itself is named.
Please, make us fruitful. Hail.  (Krasskova, p. 112)

Prayer to the Goddess of Spring

We hail the Goddess of spring,
of vibrancy, of stirring bounty,
of the waking earth,
that readies itself for the seed.
We hail the Goddess of sunshine,
and cycles, and changes,
and all good and terrifying things.
We pray for fertility in our works,
of minds, and hearts, and hands.
We pray for blessings,
and the gift
of hope's manifestation.
We hail the Goddess of spring,
as Her bounty covers the land.
Eostre, be Thou praised.

Ways to Honor Ostara/Eostre

Colors: pastel colors, blues, pinks, yellows, oranges -- colors of the dawn, and also those traditionally associated with Easter.

Symbols and Altar Suggestions: rabbits, eggs, spring flowers, seeds and seedlings, ferns, rich dark soil, images of pregnant women, of children and babies, vulva and phallic images.