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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in dawn goddesses

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Tree of Dawn

In the traditional Baltic symbol-set known as the raksti, each of the Old Gods has his or her own symbol.

The Sun's is a Sun-Wheel, the Moon's a crescent. Fire has a fylfot (swastika), Thunder a compound fylfot, the Winds an equal-armed cross.

The symbol of the Goddess of Dawn is a Tree. In Latvia, Austras koks, Dawn's Tree, is a popular motif on Easter eggs to this day. (Austra, of course, is sister to the other Dawn Goddesses of the Indo-European world: Easter, Ostara, Aurora, Eos, and Vedic Ushas among them.)

Why would a tree be the emblem of Dawn?

Look East just before Sunrise. There you will see Dawn Herself standing in the sky, making Her Presence known primarily through light and color, attributes difficult to capture in a glyptic symbol.

Hence Austra's Tree. In a given landscape, Dawn first shines Her light on the high points. In low-lying, flat country like the Baltics, these would be the trees.

There's more. Lady of Dawns both diurnal and annual, the Dawn Goddess everywhere is also deemed the Goddess of Spring. What better symbol of Spring than the Tree of Life: sap running, buds enscaled, drawing up abundance from the Earth.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
OH-star-ah or oh-STAR-ah?

The many-hued Lady of Spring goes by many names. The ancient Continental German-speaking peoples knew Her as Ostara.

(The name itself has not been preserved per se in any surviving documents—although we do find it in the plural, Ôstarûn—but the original singular form can be confidently reconstructed on the basis of Her Old English name, Éastre or Éostre [depending on which dialect of Old English you grew up speaking]).

Among contemporary pagans, Her name is usually pronounced with the stress on the second syllable: oh-STAR-ah.

Well, I hate to break it to you, but the ancestors would have laughed to hear you say it that way.

Like the other Germanic languages, Old High German was (for the most part) a stress-initial language: i.e. the first syllable in a word gets the major emphasis. Historically speaking, the correct pronunciation is OH-star-ah (rhymes—kind of—with MOST o' ya).

Well, in language, use determines correctness, they say. So, you can either say it the way the ancestors did, or you can tag along like a sheep after everyone else. You decide. Really, what's so wrong with "Sam Hane"?

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Now the Green Blade Riseth: Invoking the Lady of Spring at Paganicon 2020

What follows is the Invocation/Bidding Prayer from the Rite of Welcome at this year's upcoming Paganicon. The prayer will be chanted together by the priest (=yours truly) and the people. The people's lines are in italic.

Ushrine is the name of the Baltic (specifically Lithuanian) Goddess of Dawn; Her name is cognate with many of the other Indo-European dawn-goddesses here invoked. Note that the invocation consists of Nine Names, and that these play out, as one might expect, from West to East. A good spell is one in which the words themselves do what they say.

 

Invocation/ Bidding Prayer (sung)

 

Priest (facing people):

Let us lift up our hands.

(Turns, faces altar.)

 

Many-named and many-hued Lady of Spring,

radiant goddess of the Day's Dawn,

radiant goddess of the Year's Dawn also,

we your people call to you:

 

You who are called Eostre,

(Eostre)

you who are called Ostara,

(Ostara)

you who are called Ushrine,

(Ushrine)

you who are called Aurora,

(Aurora)

you who are called Eos,

(Eos)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Are Easter and Ishtar Related?

Contrary to what you may read in the local papers a few weeks from now, there's no historical connection between Easter and Ishtar.

Easter is the modern English name of the pan-Indo-European Dawn Goddess, also known as Ostara, Aušrine, Austra, Aurora, Eos, Ushas, and by many other names. All these names clearly derive from the Proto-Indo-European root for 'east.'

Ishtar is the Akkadian ('Babylonian') name of the pan-Semitic goddess known to the Greeks as Astarte, the Phoenicians as 'Ashtárt, and the Hebrews as 'Ashtóreth (originally 'Ashtéret). The name's original meaning remains unclear.

There's no known historical connection between these goddesses (or, better perhaps, families of goddesses). One is Indo-European, the other Semitic.

The fact that the Indo-European name is clearly derivable from an Indo-European root precludes the possibility that Indo-European speakers could have borrowed her from Semitic cultures. Although the origin of the Semitic name remains unclear, the fact that the goddess was already known among Semitic-speakers before their initial contacts with Indo-European-speaking peoples precludes the possibility of borrowing in the other direction as well.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Seems dubious to me. My Sanskrit dictionary turns up Asharha as a month-name (June-July). Asherah's links to the sea are unclear;
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    In "Crete to Egypt: Missing Links of the Rigveda" Dr. Liny Srinivasan links the Canaanite Asherah to the Minoan As-sa-sa-ra, the B

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Ever-Young Goddess

Hail Dawn, goddess of many names!

 

Éostre (Old English, West Saxon dialect) AY-aw-streh (ay as in say, aw as in awe)

Éastre (Old English, Northumbrian dialect). AY-ah-streh (ay as in say)

Both forms are used by contemporary pagans. Occasionally—probably under the influence of Ostara—written Oestre. (Technically, this form is historically incorrect, if you care about such things.)

*Ôstarâ (Old High German) OH-sta-ra (but most English-speakers say oh-STAR-a; technically, this is historically incorrect, if you care about such things.)

Name reconstructed by the Brothers Grimm. Probably the most frequently-used name for the goddess, and her springtime festival, among contemporary pagans and heathens.

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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 Culture Blogs
Etruscan Dawn

If the Old Gods exist—I would contend that they do—one would expect them to show themselves differently to different peoples in different times and places.

And that, in fact, is exactly what we find.

Forthwith, in this season of Dawn, a tantalizing glimpse of a non-Indo-European Dawn.

In their well-favored land by the Tyrrhenian (“Etruscan”) Sea, the ancient Tuscans called her Thesan, a goddess whose sister-selves include Vedic Ushas, Greek Eos, Latin Aurora, and English Easter.

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