“Love can exist without form,
but no form can exist without Love.”
Oestre or Eastre
Easter is named for the Saxon goddess known by the names of Oestre or Eastre, meaning “movement towards the rising sun,” and in Germany by the name of Ostara.
She is a goddess of the dawn and the spring, and her name derives from words for dawn, the shining light arising from the east.
Our words for the female hormone “estrogen” derives from her name. She is celebrated on March 21st at the Spring Equinox, when days are brighter and growing longer.
Ostara is a fertility Goddess, the northern counterpart of Astarte and Ishtar. She is associated with the Moon, with eggs, Dawn, and the East – all symbolizing her primary qualities of bringing birth, rebirth and renewal to a winter-weary world.
She is originally associated with the Hare. Unlike rabbits, hare babies are born fully furred, with their eyes open.
“The word Easter evidently comes from Ostara, the Scandinavian goddess of spring. She was the symbol of the resurrection of all nature and was worshipped in early spring. (Theosophical Glossasry: “Easter”)
“Eggs were symbolical from an early time. It was a custom with the pagan Norsemen at that time to exchange coloured eggs called the eggs of Ostara. These have now become Easter-Eggs.”
The art of the decorated egg in Ukraine, or the pysanka, dates back to ancient times. Pysanky is a 4,000 year old tradition. No actual ancient examples exist, as eggshells are fragile.
Eggs decorated with nature symbols became an integral part of spring rituals, serving as benevolent talismans.
As in many ancient cultures, Ukrainians worshipped a sun god (Dazhboh). The sun was important – it warmed the earth and thus was a source of all life.
In pre-Christian times, Dazhboh was one of the main deities in the Slavic pantheon.
Birds were the sun god’s chosen creations, for they were the only ones who could get near him. Humans could not catch the birds, but they did manage to obtain the eggs the birds laid. Thus, the eggs were magical objects, a source of life.
With the advent of Christianity, via a process of religious syncretism, the symbolism of the egg was changed to represent, not nature’s rebirth, but the rebirth of man. Christians embraced the egg symbol and likened it to the tomb from which Christ rose.
Many symbols of the old sun worship survived and were adapted to represent Easter and Christ’s Resurrection.
With the acceptance of Christianity in 988, the decorated pysanka, in time, was adapted to play a featured role in Ukrainian rituals of the new religion.
The song “Bein’ Green” is a popular song written by Joe Raposo in 1970 for the first season of the children’s television program Sesame Street and it was performed by Kermit the Frog (voiced by Jim Henson). 🙂
“As expressed in Asgard And The Gods: ‘Christianity put another meaning on the old custom, by connecting it with the feast of the Resurrection of the Saviour…
‘…who, like the hidden life in the egg, slept in the grave for three days before he awakened to new life.’
“This was the more natural since Christ was identified with that same Spring Sun,” writes Blavatsky [Easter], “which awakens in all his glory, after the dreary and long death of winter.”
The Mundane Egg
“There was the ‘Mundane Egg’, in which Brahma gestated, with the Hindus the Hiranya-Gharba, and the Mundane Egg of the Egyptians, which proceeds from the mouth of the ‘unmade and eternal deity,’ Kneph, and which is the emblem of generative power.
“The Egg of Babylon, which hatched Ishtar, and was said to have fallen from heaven into the Euphrates.
“Therefore coloured eggs were used yearly during spring in almost every country, and in Egypt were exchanged as sacred symbols in the spring-time — which was, is, and ever will be, the emblem of birth or rebirth, cosmic and human, celestial and terrestrial.
“They were hung up in Egyptian temples and are so suspended to this day in Mahometan mosques.”
– H. P. Blavatsky