Monday, April 16, 2012

Vindication for Celebrating the Vernal Equinox!

As readers of my blog may remember, my most recent post was in dealing with the Sabbat, goddess, and customs surrounding Ostara.  However, The Witches' Voice recently linked to an article written by Professor Philippe Shaw whom I cite at length in my own MS entry which I briefly excerpted.  So, for any who still doubt me and the existence of the goddess Ostara as a goddess, allow me to let this distinguished professor speak for himself:
Many scholars have suggested Bede invented the goddess Eostre. I disagree: Bede was a careful researcher, and not prone to inventions of this sort, as far as we can tell.
And we also now know that there were a group of minor goddesses with a related name worshipped by continental speakers of a Germanic language.
In 1958, more than 150 votive inscriptions from the second or third century AD were discovered near Morken-Harff in Germany.
These inscriptions must mark the site of an important cult centre, and the goddesses to whom these inscriptions were set up were called the matronae Austriahenae, loosely translated as "the eastern matrons" or "the matrons of the easterners".
The name Austriahenae comes from the same Germanic root as Eostre, suggesting that this was a root used in naming goddesses.
There is also evidence of its use in English place names and in the names of Anglo-Saxon individuals. There is every reason, then, to trust what Bede says about Eostre: she was a goddess whose name was attached to a month by the pagan Anglo-Saxons. When the Anglo-Saxons were converted to Christianity, the name of the month in which Easter usually fell was transferred to the name of the festival itself.
Eostre also provides us with clues to the way in which Anglo-Saxon paganism worked. The word from which her name derives means "eastern", and is found in place names in England, which suggests that she may well have been a local goddess.
We are accustomed to think of pagan gods as having roles – war god, fertility god – but Eostre suggests that Anglo-Saxon goddesses may have been defined instead by their relationship to a local community.

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