Oestre

by Yvonne Rathbone
©2000

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Old English

Oestre

The Goddess and God meet and recognize each other. They are young and carefree with no thought of responsibility.

Tree - Klamath Plum
The Spring Equinox
Sun at 0° Aries
March 21
Alternate names: Lady Day, Alban Eiler, Ostara, Eostre, Easter
Themes: The triumphant return of life. Youth. Fun. Balance.

As an equinox holiday, Oestre symbolizes balance. At this equinox, the days are balanced and moving toward the light. After this day, the days will be longer than the nights until the Autumn Equinox half a year away.

Ostara, a Germanic goddess, gives her name as an alternate one for the sabbat and many witches invoke her at this time. She heralds the triumphant return of life and growth to the Earth. Greek tradition celebrates the return of Persephone/Kore to her mother, Demeter, after spending winter in Hades realm. In the Celtic tradition, we see in the blossoms the passing of Olwen, the Queen of May, in whose footsteps flowers bloom.

The young God at this time is young and strong, but not yet aware of the responsibilities he will take on, or his impending death at his own hand. It's hard to see in this capricious young buck, the god who will sacrifice himself that others may live and the wheel ever turn.

Some symbols for this time are eggs, rabbits and spring flowers. These symbols are all representative of fertility and new life. The idea that the Earth was hatched from an egg is widespread throughout the world. The Celts believed that the egg was from a snake, symbol of regeneration. Rabbits are a natural symbol of fertility due to their prolific reproduction and also show a deep connection with the Earth because of their underground burrows. Traditionally, rabbits are linked to the moon and therefore the goddess.

Rituals at Oestre center on a reaffirmation of life and a celebration of it's return to the face of the Earth. Because the gods are young and capricious, outdoor games such as the traditional Easter Egg Hunt are quite appropriate.

The Klamath Plum is in full bloom at this time, lending it fragrance and beauty to any celebration. As a fruit tree, it represents the return of fertility and the hope of a harvest whose planting is just beginning. As a plum, it represents life and immortality.

 

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