Germanic mythology

EOSTRE

Anglo-Saxon Fertility Goddess

Also known as Ēostre, Ostara, Eastre, Ēastre

Spring Goddess of Fertility and bouncy bunny girl

She has her own festival on 21 March, the Spring Equinox, in which bouncing springy behavior is encouraged.

A Germanic goddess, EOSTRE was very popular with the Anglo-Saxon pagan brigade who worshiped her under the name — and kicked off the whole Easter business without a JESUS in sight. If you ever wondered what eggs and bunnies have to do with crucifixion and resurrection, the answer is: absolutely nothing.

EOSTRE’s sacred animal is a cute wittle wabbit — an obvious symbol of fertility — and the egg is her symbol of fertile purity. So Easter Egg hunts are actually packed with symbolic meanings of rebirth and renewal. And Elmer Fudd is obviously just a high priest of the Great Easter Bunny.

In case you think we’re being flippant, recent research suggests that EOSTRE herself may have been invented during a mischievous moment by the Venerable SAINT-BEDE. This well-known monk mentioned her in connection with the pagan festival Eosturmonath in a book written in 750 AD — but extensive research has failed to find a trace of her prior to that. Could he possibly have been fibbing?

Rabbits and hares are ubiquitous in mythology. Every culture seems to have a rabbit god — and they’re nearly always trickster spirits. This, we feel, explains a lot. We also have a terrific theory explaining why stage magicians love doing tricks with eggs and rabbits. Was EOSTRE pulled out of a hat?

Eostre Facts and Figures

Name: Eostre
Pronunciation: Coming soon
Alternative names: Ēostre, Ostara, Eastre, Ēastre

Gender: Female
Type: deity
Celebration or Feast Day: Unknown at present

In charge of: Fertility
Area of expertise: Fertility

Good/Evil Rating: Unknown at present
Popularity index: 101540

Article last updated on 30 November 2018 by Rowan Allen.
Editors: Peter J. Allen, Chas Saunders

References: Coming soon.

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