Ēostre

Meaning of Name:  Stems from Proto -Germanic *Austrō(n), meaning ‘dawn’.

Pronunciation: ‘Ay-Aw-Struh’ The ‘e’ is pronounced as the ‘a’ in the word ‘ray’, the ‘a’ is pronounced as the ‘o’ in the word ‘hot’ and the final ‘e’ is pronounced as the ‘u’ in ‘cub’.

Function: Ēostre is a goddess of the dawn, both literally and figuratively, with dawn being used as a metaphor for the death of Winter and the lengthening of days. Each year she retreats to the Underworld for the duration of Winter and is reborn anew each Spring, bringing with her, fertility and abundance. The full moon in Ēostremōnað is when I celebrate the return of Spring (Or Sumor/Summer, as I only acknowledge two seasons per year these days). Curiously for some, it is not celebrated on the Equinox as this was not formally recognised, as far as we can tell.

Iconography: As a goddess associated with Spring, symbology related to renewal and growth would seem appropriate.  Grimm states in his Deutsche Mythologie, that Easter eggs (possibly related to renewal and fertility) and bonfires may be a survival from an earlier, Heathen celebration. Hares are also typically associated with the Goddess.

There is some evidence to suggest a similar goddess named  *Ôstara, may have been venerated on the continent, based on Old High German,  ‘Ôstarmânoth’. According to Grimm:

“We Germans to this day call April Ostermonat, and Ôstarmânoth is found as early as Eginhart (temp. Car. Mag.). The great Christian festival, which usually falls in April or the end of March, bears in the oldest of OHG remains the name Ôstarâ … it is mostly found in the plural, because two days … were kept at Easter. This Ostarâ, like the [Anglo-Saxon] Eástre, must in heathen religion have denoted a higher being, whose worship was so firmly rooted, that the Christian teachers tolerated the name, and applied it to one of their own grandest anniversaries.”

Contemporary Bīnaman: Frumlēoht (First Light), Rodorlīhtung (Illumination of the Heavens), Wintresdēaþ (Winter’s Death), Dægrēd (Dawn), Eftnīwung (Renewal), Blōstmbǣrende (Blossom Bearing), Bēomōder (Bee Mother), Hunigflōwende (Flowing-with-Honey).

*Credit to Lārhūs Fyrnsida for the majority of this information and description. I have edited this down for simple reading and for personalisation of what She means to me

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