Sunday, 27 March 2016
It is the influence of the traditional spring rights that made Easter so egg-special. Myths coming down to us from an incredibly distant past have shown man's relationship with the egg to be very deep seated one.
There are reports of myths of the whole universe created out of an egg. Thus, it is not unusual that in almost all ancient cultures eggs had been held as an emblem of life. The concept of all living beings born from an egg is also a foundational concept of modern biology.
Despite claims being made that Easter Eggs were originally pagan symbols, there is no solid evidence for this. It was not until the 18th Century that Jakob Grimm theorized a putative pagan connection to Easter Eggs with a goddess of his own whom he named Ostara, a suggested German version of Eostre.
The Goddess Ostara and the Origin of the Easter Bunny
Ostara, the Goddess of Dawn (Saxon), who was responsible for bringing spring each year, was feeling guilty about arriving so late. To make matters worse, she arrived to find a pitiful little bird who lay dying, his wings frozen by the snow. Lovingly, Ostara cradled the shivering creature and saved his life.
Legend has it that she then made him her pet or, in the X-rated versions, her lover. Filled with compassion for him since he could no longer fly because of his frost-damaged wings, the goddess Ostara turned him into a rabbit, a snow hare, and gave him the name Lepus.
She also gave him the gift of being able to run with astonishing speed so he could easily evade all the hunters. To honor his earlier form as a bird, she also gave him the ability to on one day out of each year. Lay eggs (in all the colours of the rainbow, no less), but he was only allowed to lay eggs.
Eventually Ostara lost her temper with Lepus (some say the raunchy rabbit was involved with another woman), and she flung him into the skies where he would remain for eternity as the constellation Lepus (The Hare), forever positioned under the feet of the constellation Orion (the Hunter).
But later, remembering all the good times they had once enjoyed, Ostara softened a bit and allowed the hare to return to earth once each year, but only to give away his eggs to the children attending the Ostara festivals that were held each spring.
Easter eggs, the Easter Bunny, the dawn that arrives with the resurrection of life, and the celebration of spring all remind us of the cycle of rebirth and the need for renewal in our lives.
The goddesses of springtime, Persephone, Ishtar, and Ostara, bring us the message of awakening and personal growth. Their gift is the motivation and the energy we need to pursue our dreams. As the tender green buds begin to leaf out around us, our own lives are refilled with vital energy. Spring is the time to make room in our hearts for a passion for all things new.