Until very recently, I never gave much though to Eostre. I considered it a “lesser” holiday and would often allow it to pass with the most minimal of observance. I far preferred the cold season, the time from Winternights in October through Yule, the time when the Wild Hunt was said to ride, the time given over the ancestors, the Mothers, and Odin. All of that changed, however, when I moved out of New York City. Suddenly, I found myself ensconced in the seasonal rhythms. I found myself unable to ignore the cycles of the land, the feel of the soil as it prepared for winter slumber, and moreover as it began to awaken in the spring. It was all around me and as I now had a parcel of land for which I was responsible, I began to sit up and take notice. With that miniature epiphany, I found myself coming to crave Eostre with a deep physical and spiritual ache. I began to long for this holy tide and suddenly it didn’t seem ‘lesser’ at all. Suddenly it seemed crucial, valuable, a doorway marking the transition between death and rebirth, winter and summer, darkness and light, fallow and fertile. Suddenly my entire relationship to this Goddess, this celebration, and this time of year was transformed.
Eostre really is a magical time. Its power lies in part in its liminality. The equinoxes are liminal times: the earth is neither fully awakened nor still fully asleep. They mark periods of transition, of awakening, of initiation. They mark the passage through a place, a time, a state of being that is neither one thing nor the other and such places are tremendously important for us spiritually and emotionally. They are the places wherein we are given the opportunity to open up and grow a little ourselves, to move beyond our baggage, to reach out and, since we are speaking of things associated with the spring equinox, to embrace the light. They give us a chance to reawaken our passions and reorder our priorities. Liminal times and places not only provide a chance to drink deeply of the sacred, but they allow us the opportunity to remake ourselves: our hearts, our minds, our spirits, in the wake of that sacred drink as we go forth, through the passage of the holy tide, into new life, new birth, new growth and hopefully, greater awareness. Moreover, Eostre being what it is, we can do so with joy because over and above anything else, this is a holy tide resplendent with joy.
You can feel the potentiality bubbling up in the land, like laughter too long impishly suppressed. You can feel it in the life that is bursting into flower everywhere at this time. It’s palpable if one stops long enough to listen; and to feel. Eostre is all about sensation—a riotous exaltation of the senses and our capacity to enjoy them. It’s about taking that pause, that breath, and it’s also about blessing the creativity – the fertility not necessarily of body, though that is certainly part of this season, but of mind, heart, and spirit. This holy tide is about opening up and stretching our wings after the enforced constraint of winter. It’s about the grace of being alive, awake, and capable of feeling joy. It’s about sensuality---however one chooses to express or embrace it, Eostre is, in some very deep way, about sensuality, a glorious celebration of the sensorium which, after the fallow time of winter, has the chance to glory in the gifts brought in the wake of the brightening land.
The spring equinox also knits together two very disparate seasonal experiences. It stands holding a place between the fallow, resting cold of winter and the burgeoning heat of summer. It’s a doorway between barrenness and fertility, always leaning toward the latter as the fall equinox leans toward the quiet pause of the former. Here, the elegance of autumn is replaced by unbounded delight of spring. There’s a momentum awakened and unleashed here that reaches its apex at midsummer. There’s a drive, a joyous exuberance.
We have several Deities traditionally associated with this time. The first, of course is Eostre and Her continental cousin Ostara. Then of course there is Hreðe, of Whom I’ve written of quite recently on my blog (http://krasskova.weebly.com/1/post/2012/02/adorations-to-hree.html ), and finally we have the moon God Mani and the Sun Goddess Sunna. Given that Eostre proper is a day when light and darkness are equally balanced, it’s quite appropriate to give special honors to our celestial Deities too. Folks wanting to learn more about these two Deities can look here: http://krasskova.weebly.com/the-house-of-the-moon.html or check out my book “Day Star and Whirling Wheel,” available here: http://www.asphodelpress.com/devotionals.html. I’m afraid, other than a few sparse references in the surviving sources, there’s not much else out there about these Deities. Still, that shouldn’t stop us from honoring Them. In fact, it provides a great impetus to throwing ourselves into celebration of these Holy Powers unburdened as we are by any artificial constraints of ‘lore.’
I’ve also written about Ostara/Eostre before. Those articles can be found, in no particular order here:
(links to parts I and II may be found here as well).
In the meantime, with Eostre less than two weeks away, I leave you with a series of Adorations to this most delightful of Goddesses.
28 Adorations to Eostre
I adore You, Goddess of spring.
I adore You, Goddess of the wet and fertile field.
I adore You, Ever-brightening Dawn.
I adore You, Who hides Your mysteries in liminal places.
I adore You, Rebirth.
I adore You, Renewal.
I adore You, aching tug of awakening hungers.
I adore You, Goddess of adolescence.
I adore You, Goddess of bursting bloom.
I adore You, Goddess of the new season.
I adore You, Goddess of New Growth.
I adore You, Who awakens the womb of the earth.
I adore You, Who brings fertility.
I adore You, laughing dawnlight.
I adore You, who looses the hare.
I adore You, Who quickens the belly.
I adore you. Who fills the egg with life.
I adore You, Holder of all potentiality.
I adore You, Who opens the passage from winter to summer.
I adore You, Whose gentle caress causes winter to yield its sway.
I adore You, Who sweeps away the cold with a kiss of light.
I adore You, Alluring One.
I adore You, Who delights in the rising cock.
I adore You, Who delights in the wet cunt.
I adore You, Goddess of playful delight.
I adore You, friend of Mani.
I adore You, friend of Sunna.
I adore You, Eostre.
May You be hailed at this time, as cold turns to warmth, darkness to light, winter to summer, fallow land to fertile growth.
And to all my readers, may this coming holy tide, Eostre, Ostara, the Spring Equinox, be kind to you all. May it fill your homes and hearts with joy and may the works of your hands prosper. Happy Eostre.
(the picture below is by Mary Ann Glass. The eggs were painted by her mother, Evelyn Tron Glass. Holiday cards with this image are available. The photographer may be contacted at http://maryannglassphotos.blogspot.com/).