Eostara

Some people struggle with Imbolc. I struggle with Eostara. It seems to me to be one of the most muddled up days on the Pagan Wheel of the Year, followed closely by Litha. Why what should be fairly straightforward holidays of the equinoxes turn into such hot messes is a little beyond me. Eostara’s simply the beginning of Spring, Litha is Autumn (or vice versa if you’re southern hemisphere). And yet the myth-cycle seems to be weakest and the least supported for these holidays than anywhere else.

The other two “astronomical” holidays, Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice, Midsummer and Yule, seem to fare a little better.  I think that this is because Midsummer and Yule have been celebrated in popular culture fairly steadily. Like Halloween, they’re easier to Grok than the most esoteric holidays.

Easter muddies the waters with its eggs and bunnies and risen Christ. Everyone wants to find some convenient pagan correlate for each and every Easter symbol, until we’re buried under a bunch of junk from several different cultures all stirred together into Pagan Chinese Menu tradition. Pick one from column A and two from column B and a craft project from the grab bag, and poof, you have ritual!

I’m sorry that I’m more than a little cranky about it. I thought about celebrating Quinquartria, Minerva’s birthday at this holiday to have a hearth culture tie-in. But Minerva’s birthday isn’t a good correlation with Oestara, however seasonally appropriate it is. Lupercalia is probably closer, with its emphasis on fertility and such.

Ah well. For all of you celebrating Eostara, instead of being cranky about it, I hope you had a lovely beginning of spring.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kévin Silverstag
    Mar 21, 2011 @ 06:29:25

    My suggestion would be to ignore the “myth-cycle” and the symbols and explore what this particular time of year means to you personally. What changes do you see in the land around you? How does the changing of the seasons affect your own life?

    Reply

  2. tlryder
    Mar 21, 2011 @ 11:02:15

    I live very far south in the U.S., where we don’t really have seasons in the way they’re presented in the average American/Northern European calendar. The changes here are very, very subtle, especially at this time of year. No falling leaves, no snow. No huge spring back of plants in the spring, no burst of summer activity.

    I’m not sure that Oestara as “celebration of non-scorching hot temperatures” would be spiritually meaningful for me. And really, that’s another key point in this issue. How do you build a nature celebration around a local non-event? :\

    Reply

  3. sanil
    Mar 21, 2011 @ 19:09:39

    I am so jealous that you have no snow. But I can see how that would make it a little harder to mark the seasons with these holidays. It also doesn’t help that most of us don’t spend a lot of time outside to really notice and enjoy the more universal (at least, as far as I know) effect of having longer days. So as much as we try to attune to nature by marking these events, I know that I personally don’t experience them that way, although I do like knowing that they’re there. A few years ago, I barely noticed seasons changing (and I live in the northern US, where we do have seasons the way they’re typically shown). Mostly I just like knowing that I am recognizing and marking these changes with a variety of other people in a wide variety of ways.

    The summer solstice has very little meaning for me, either seasonally or mythologically. I have the same difficulties then that you talk about here. I’m not really sure how to deal with it, but I suppose I’ll figure it out. Good luck!

    Reply

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