UK Pagans respond to questions on the origins of Easter and Ostara

[Please welcome Liz Williams our new UK correspondent and journalist.]

UNITED KINGDOM — You can always tell that it’s spring when the UK online Pagan community starts linking to articles by writer Adrian Bott, also known as Cavalorn. Bott came into prominence a few years ago with his blog posts regarding the origins of Ostara. Rather than taking on board the received wisdom about this festival, he began a rigorous examination of the actual origins of the holiday’s name. Bott began by linking Ostara back to an obscure reference in the writings of the Venerable Bede called The Reckoning of Time, which was then picked up by the Brothers Grimm. His posts were often contentious, challenging the accepted idea that Ostara was an ancient Germanic goddess of the dawn or of springtime, or that she had anything to do with hares, eggs, or indeed chocolate.

A blessed spring equinox

TWH – This week marks the celebration of the vernal (spring) equinox and the astronomical beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere. The actual equinox occurs Tuesday, Mar. 20 at 12:15 am EDT (10:29 UTC). At the same time in the southern hemisphere, it will be the autumnal equinox, and the beginning of the fall season. Many Pagans, Heathens, and polytheists celebrate the spring equinox as Ostara, Lady Day, Shubun-sai, or simply the coming of spring.

Column: Resiliency and the Spirit War

“6-3-6: The concept of politics has then become completely absorbed into a war of spirits.” —Nietzschemanteion

Or as Diane di Prima wrote, “the war that matters is the war against the imagination/all other wars are subsumed in it.” The enemy is despair, but secular ideologies of progress will never be enough to keep the enemy at bay. It takes a certain kind of sympathetic magic to counter despair. The seeds of what one is fighting for must be contained in one’s actions. If you want to live in a world where the relationships between the gods, the ancestors, the land and human beings are in harmony, then you have to put effort into strengthening and balancing those relationships right now.

A Blessed Spring Equinox

Today is the vernal (spring) equinox*. It is the astronomical beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Wiccans, Heathens, and various modern Pagans celebrate this day as Ostara, Lady Day, Shubun-sai, or simply the spring equinox (autumnal equinox for our Australian friends). Several current secular Easter traditions including the Easter Bunny, and dying/decorating eggs are considered remnants of pre-Christian spring celebrations. It is a time for the celebration of the renewal of life.

A Blessed Spring Equinox

Today is the vernal (spring) equinox*. It is the astronomical beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Wiccans, Heathens, and various modern Pagans celebrate this day as Ostara, Lady Day, Shubun-sai, or simply the spring equinox (autumnal equinox for our Australian friends). Several current secular Easter traditions including the Easter Bunny, and dying/decorating eggs are considered remnants of pre-Christian spring celebrations. It is a time for the celebration of the renewal of life.