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As the Day Overtakes the Night...

...it’s time for us to celebrate that particularly sacred time, the Spring Equinox, also known to many Pagans as Ostara! Representing the midpoint between the dark nights of winter and the long days of summer, the Equinox is the moment when the Earth’s equator lines up with the Sun. In some cultures it is regarded as the start of spring while others perceive it as the midpoint (with spring beginning around early February and ending in May).

For our annual megapost in celebration of the Equinox we’ve gathered all our relevant content from PaganSquare this year as well as some links from other sites we thought might be of interest. May the coming summer be filled with joy and exuberance for all of you and your loved ones!

-Aryós Héngwis

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Easter is Risen!

English

Easter is risen! Indeed she is risen!

 

Old English

Éastre arás! Sóþlice héo arás!

 

Greek

Kórê anéstê! Alêthós anéstê!

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

The spring equinox this year falls on the 20th of March. This is a time of youthful exuberance in nature, when all of the green world seems to be springing back into life. March wind and rain may still keep many of us indoors on some days, but if we venture out into the wild we will be surprised by what we encounter. Blossom will be erupted from every tree and hedgerow,  and the forest floor begins to be carpeted with primroses and anemones, celandine and of course daffodils, which spring up everywhere along verges and gardens as well as the wild with equal ease and sunny glory.

Mad march hares can be seen sprinting across the brown fields, and boxing off unwanted lovers as the mating season gets underway in earnest. One of my favourite places to see the hares is at Uffington White Horse in Oxfordshire, though they can be found all over the UK.  Sighting the hares is a regular part of my spring pilgrimage to this exposed but beautiful ancient site.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Now The Green Blade Riseth

Down the years, it's become the leitmotif of our spring evenday (equinox) celebration.

Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain:

wheat that in the deep Earth many days hath lain.

Love lives again, that with the dead hath been:

love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

 

The tune is a 17th century French noel, with lyrics written by an early 20th century Anglican clergyman. Now the pagans sing it when, having descended into the underworld, we find Spring and bring her back. As a round we sing it, vining, intertwining, calling forth the green.

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Finding Spring

When we enter the temple, she is gone.

We light from the altar fire and go out to look for her. Up and down we look. Everywhere we see signs of her, and these we gather into baskets; but she herself is nowhere.

We regather. There is only one place she can be. With our fire, we descend.

We walk the winding ways of below. Even here we do not find her.

We enter darkness. In darkness, even fire dies.

While we wait, we sing. In darkness, it ends and begins.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Happy, um, Pasch

Hey you. Yeah, you: Christian.

Hey, check this out. Did you know that  Easter is really the name of a pagan goddess? Seriously. Easter is a pagan goddess: goddess of dawn. And spring, of course. Really.

Says so right here in Bede. Yeah, that's the one, the “Venerable Bede.” Always a venerable, never a saint, ha ha. Well, actually, I think he is a saint now, isn't he? Didn't they canonize him a while back? A saint wouldn't lie about that kind of thing now, would he?

Hey, check this out: Pasch. Rhymes with “flask.” Nice, hunh? Beautiful. (Makes sign of aversion behind back.) Gotta love that funky spelling.

Fine old Christian word, Pasch. Actually the original name for the holiday, back before the pagans got their mitts on it. Goes all the way back to Aramaic. Really. The language of Jesus, right. Used the word himself, no doubt about it. Whatsoever. Jesus. Yeah.

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Easter is Risen: Philip A. Shaw's "Pagan Goddesses in the Early Germanic World"

Eosturmonath [April] [is] called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honor feasts [festa] were celebrated in that month.

This lone sentence from chapter 15 of Bede of Jarrow's De Temporum Ratione ("On the Reckoning of Time"), along with the fact that, from very early times, a Christian festival came to be called by her name, is literally all that we know about the Anglo-Saxon goddess Easter. Literally all.

Under the circumstances, scholars have tended in two directions. The Maximalists have viewed Easter as a pan-Germanic goddess, herself a reflex of a pan-Indo-European Dawn goddess whose sister-selves include Vedic Ushas, Greek Eos, and Latin Aurora.

The Minimalists—many of them clearly driven by pique that so Christian a festival should bear so blatantly pagan a name—deny that such a goddess ever existed at all, and seek alternate (and non-pagan) derivations for the name of the church's great spring festival.

In Pagan Goddesses in the Early Germanic World: Eostre, Hreda, and the Cult of Matrons, Philip A. Shaw, lecturer in English and Old English at Leicester University, in a work surprisingly readable for all its dense erudition, attempts to stake out a centrist ground midway between maximalist and minimalist positions. Of greatest interest to the contemporary pagan reader (to this contemporary pagan reader, at any rate) is his marshaling of new information to shed new light on the subject.

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