The true meaning of Easter

Happy EASTER, (or “Pascha” in Russian), everyone!

It is the time of Fertility beginning and the Goddess Love, never mind the Jesus Resurrection 🙂

Easter is a holiday that predates Christianity by several thousand years. The name itself is taken from ancient beliefs in a Goddess, whose Feast had celebrated the dawning of the new Spring, and the end of the dark half of the year – the return of the Sun.

Her name in the old English is Eostre (or Ostara); in the proto-indo-european religion, her name is HausĹŤs; in the Indian, she is Uṣas; in Greek Ἠώς (Ä’ĹŤs); in Latin AurĹŤra; in Baltic Aušra; in Lithuanian AušrinÄ—; in Germanic AustrĹŤn – all are representatives of “dawn” and “spring”.

The Christian Church had adopted this pagan holiday (so the people who felt a habitual need to celebrate will have it on their “habitual day”, but with a new meaning). Before the Christian Church was a “church” (an organized, and controlling, religion), it was made of true Christians (the Desert Fathers, the Essenes, the Gnostics, etc.), people who felt the Unity Consciousness, the real Christ energy in their hearts. And without adopting the Easter holiday they would have been left out if they had not celebrated something on that day, left out in a very real material and emotional sense – to the superstitious citizens of Europe at the time, there had to be a Holy Day to mark the Rise of the Sun (Son), or Winter might not end. On this day (traditionally the Vernal Equinox) the sun rises due East (even the Anglo name (“east”) for the direction takes its name from this ancient Goddess).

And of course you must have wondered, why is there a BUNNY (!!!) and the EGGS  (!!!) in a  “Christian Holiday” of Easter!?! The Easter Bunny comes from the worship of Eastre – and Mister Rabbit is her totem (for obvious reason of fertility). And of course the first birthing of Spring would shortly be followed by the first laying of eggs (mind you, not by the rabbits 🙂

In the old Europe it was believed, that the arrival of Eastre’s rabbits brought on the laying of eggs, which chickens and other birds tend to hide, in an effort to hatch an early brood of chicks. Hence the Easter egg hunt! If one could find an egg on Eastre’s day, it would herald a good omen for the year ahead.

And so, spring is in the air!…

Flowers and bunnies decorate the home. The children paint beautiful designs on eggs dyed in various colors, that will later be hidden and searched for, are placed into lovely, seasonal baskets. The wonderful aroma of the hot bread the mother is baking in the oven waft through the house. Forty days of abstaining from special foods will finally end the next day. The whole family picks out their Sunday best to wear to the next morning’s sunrise worship service to celebrate the savior’s resurrection and the renewal of life. Everyone looks forward to a The meal! It will be a thrilling day. After all, it is one of the most important religious holidays of the year…. 

Easter, right? No! This is a description of an ancient Babylonian family—2,000 years before Christ—honoring the resurrection of their god, Tammuz, who was brought back from the underworld by his mother/wife, Ishtar (after whom the festival was named). As Ishtar was actually pronounced “Easter” in most Semitic dialects, the event portrayed here is, in a sense, Easter. Of course, the occasion could easily have been a Phrygian family honoring Attis and Cybele, or perhaps a Phoenician family worshiping Adonis and Astarte. Also fitting the description well would be a ”heretic” Israelite family honoring the Canaanite Baal and Ashtoreth. Or this depiction could just as easily represent any number of other immoral, pagan fertility celebrations of death and resurrection—including the modern Easter celebration as it has come to us through the Anglo-Saxon fertility rites of the goddess Eostre or Ostara. These are all the same festivals, separated only by time and culture.

The Pagan Romans (huge influence at the time of Christianity beginnings) held a Feast to mark the Vernal Equinox. The followers of Dionysius (cool dude) would bake a kind of hard bread, to be eaten with wine Dionysius was known for, to commemorate the brutal death of their God on behalf of mankind, and his Resurrection on “the day the light returns”. They would “eat of His body” to honor his sacrifice.

In the Indian tradition, the dawn goddess is liberated from imprisonment by a god Indra (reflected in the Rigveda). In Greek mythology it is Dionysius who liberates her.

Many other, older faiths tell of Gods who rose from the dead, proving their divinity. Dionysus is merely one example. Other commonly known “Sons of God”, Gods themselves, who underwent a terrible death, to save humans from some metaphysical darkness, then experienced The Resurrection, include Osiris, Adonis, Odin (who was jabbed with a Spear), their counterparts in other regions, and many others.

In Christian religion, Easter is the Resurrection Day – the day celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, on the 3rd day after his crucifixion. Easter is preceded by Lent (a 40-day period of fasting).

The first Easter was established by the Christian Church in the 2nd century AD – and it was called Paschal by both Greeks and Romans at the time – which is a Greek translation of the Aramaic, and Hebrew פֶּסַח. Even Paul writes (from Ephesus) that “Christ our Pascha has been sacrificed for us.” In most of the non-English speaking world, the feast today is known by the name Pascha and words derived from it.

The First Council of Nicaea (325AD) established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon, following the northern hemisphere’s vernal equinox. The “Full Moon” is not necessarily the astronomically correct date. The date of Easter therefore varies between 22 March and 25 April.

The Christian Easter is symbolically and calendrically is linked to the Jewish Passover. In many languages, the words for “Easter” and “Passover” are similar in pronunciation, if not the meaning. Even though Christian customs vary across the Christen World, decorating the “Easter eggs” (symbol of empty womb ready to become full) is a common symbol.

The well-known Old Testament Passover story centers on God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt through the ten plagues. These included how the death angel would “pass over” all the houses where the Israelites lived. They were instructed to put blood over their doorposts to ensure that only the firstborn of Egypt would die. In this “first Passover”, it was only the blood of the slain lamb that protected each Israelite home. While Egypt suffered the plague of death, the Israelite firstborn were delivered by blood. By obeying Jehovah’s command and by faith in his promise to protect them, they were spared from death (in this case, issued by Jehovah onto the Egyptians). [FYI: Jehovah is not the Absolute God]. But the Hebrews did not “create” Passover either – it is an amalgamation of two traditions – the ancient Mesopotamian festival called Akitu (the “barley cutting” – the unification of Earth and Heaven, the beginning of Spring) and the ancient Hebrew apotropaic rite (unrelated to Exodus from Egypt, in fact a much older tradition) to protect a family home by daubing the blood of a slaughtered sheep on the lintels and door posts to ensure that demonic forces could not enter the home.

Easter, from its religious underpinnings, to its peculiar celebrations and traditions, is far older than any religion claims. Every aspect of the holiday, from the Resurrection itself, to the famous Easter Egg Hunt, is as old as human spiritual beginnings.

So, let go of the limited victim-like beliefs, and claim the true Fertility/ Abundance of the Goddess!!

Happy Easter! May the Bunnies help you create anything you desire and may your inner Goddess never go hungry 🙂

Love in Light and Dark.