Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Easter the Goddess: A Thought Experiment


1500 years ago, the English-speaking ancestors worshiped (or at least, knew of) a Goddess of Spring and Dawn Whom they called (depending on which dialect of Old English you spoke) either Éostre or Éastre.

(Their Continental cousins, of course, called Her Ôstara.)

So: let us say that Her worship had continued, unbroken, down to the present day. If Her Name had remained in constant usage and undergone all the usual sound changes, what would we call Her today?

The question is easily answered. We would today call Her Easter.

Personally, I think that we still should.


I know, I know, that name has been co-opted and misused by others. For some, Her modern Name is too tainted by association to be taken back.

I don't agree. The Name is Hers, and—as Her people—it's ours to know Her and call Her by. When I hear non-pagans use the term, the sheer irony of it delights me. If only they knew.

It also rather delights me that, around here, we have (in most years) Three Easters (Ôstarûn, the Old Germans would have said): Pagan/Heathen, Catholic/Protestant, and Orthodox.

Guess whose comes first?


It's the week before the Equinox. The cashier is ringing up my six dozen eggs.

“Sure is a lot of eggs,” she says.

“Getting ready for the holiday,” I say.

She looks puzzled. “Easter's weeks away yet,” she says.

I don't really feel like getting into specifics. “Ours is next week,” I say.

She nods sagely. “You must be Russian,” she says.

“Something like that,” I say.


Thank Goddess, Spring is finally here. Happy Easter to you and yours.












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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


  • Victoria
    Victoria Friday, 05 November 2021

    Éostre was not the goddess of spring, that is a modern pagan misconception. The Anglo Saxons recognised two seasons; winter and summer, so is unlikely they had a spring goddess. Éostre is attested only by Bede, who mentions nothing other than she was worshipped during Eostremonath, and the etymology of Éostre does not support a connection to spring. Also Ostara was coined by Grimm who based it soley on Bede's breif mention of Éostre not on any continental evidence of a cognate.

    I suggest you do some further reading on Éostre:
    Philip A. Shaw Pagan Goddesses in the Early Germanic World: Eostre, Hreda and the Cult of Matrons

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