Hausos, Eostre, Ostara, Vesna – Dawn Spring
One of the most important goddesses of reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion is the personification of dawn as a beautiful young woman. Her name is reconstructed as Hausōs PIE *h2ewsōs- or *hausōs-, an s-stem)…
Derivatives of *h2ewsōs in the historical mythologies of Indo-European peoples include Indian Usas, Greek ‘Hώς (Ēōs), Latin Aurōra, and Baltic Aušra (“dawn”, c.f. Lithuanian Aušrinė). Germanic *Austrōn- is from an extended stem *h2ews-tro-.
The name *h2ewsōs is derived from a root *h2wes / *aues “to shine”, thus translating to “the shining one”. Both the English word east and the Latin auster “south” are from a root cognate adjective *aws-t(e)ro-. Also cognate is aurum “gold”, from *awso-. The name for “spring season”, *wes-r- is also
from the same root. The dawn goddess was also the goddess of spring, involved in the mythology of the Indo-European new year…
Eostre – Ostara
Eostre (Pan-Celtic) [ESS-trah or Y’OSE-tree] Eostre is an Anglo-Saxon Goddess, the one for whom the Ostara Sabbat is named. When the Saxons invaded Britain, they brought this vigorous Goddess with them and she was eventually adopted into the Celtic pantheon. She is seen as spring personified, a Goddess of rebirth, new beginnings, and fertility.
(Perpetual Festival Calendar)
“March 21 . . Eostre, Goddess of Spring and Dawn. ” (Fellowship of Isis Directory)
“March 21st: Eostre, Goddess of Spring. Rebirth of Nature, Happiness. Care for all young creatures and plants”.
She is only mentioned in De Temporum Ratione written by Anglo – Saxon monk Bede who mentions that during the pagan times the Anglo – Saxons were venerating her in the month named Ēosturmōnaþ for her sake (Eosturmonath, April). He points out, however, that her festival was replaced by the Christian Easter and the pagan customs had already been abandoned in the time he was writing his chronicle (Bede lived in the 8th century).
In 19th century it was Jacob Grimm who was analysing the name *Ostara (‘Easter’ in Old Germanic) in his book Deutsche Mythologie. He associated it with the chronicles of Bede in spite of some researchers who claimed that the monk has made the cult of Ēostre up. Grimm defended him and stated there was nothing in his chronicles that would seem improbable. He also pointed out that her cult was so deeply rooted in the Germanic culture that the Christian missionaries were not able to eradicate it and transformed it into the celebrations of Christ’s death and resurrection, keeping the month’s name (German ostermonat, ôstarmânoth). He also suggested that Old German adverb ôstar means ‘movement towards the rising sun’ and compared its forms in the language family (Old Norse: austr, Anglo – Saxon: ēastor, Gothic áustr) with the Latin stem auster hypothesizing that the goddess Austra’s cult had already extincted before the introduction of Christianity. He also showed some features that enabled the adaptation of a new religion into already existing beliefs: dawn as the light growing into power, bonfires lighted for the goddess, sacred water, maidens wearing white, the symbol of egg, sword dances and special kind of pastries.
Some linguists claim that Old English name Ēostre originates from Old German *austrōn meaning dawn, which itself most probably originates from Pra – Indoeuropean stem *aus- ‘to shine’. It implies the resemblance of Germanic Ēostre to Hellenic Eos who was also the goddess of dawn. Ēostre’s name preserved to this day, mostly as the name of Easter but also as in the case of Freyja in the geographical names of such locations as Eastry, Eastrea and Eastrington on the British Isles as well as Austrechild, Austrighysel, Austrovald and Ostrulf in the German speaking countries in the mainland*.
The existence of Ēostre’s cult was itself controversial among the scholars, many of them assumed that it was only Bede’s creation and identified Ēostre with Freyja. However, in 1958 around 150 Romano – Germanic votive inscriptions were discovered near Morken-Harff in Germany, they were all dedicated to matrona Austriahenea. They are datable to approximately 150 – 250 AD, some of them are incomplete, but most of them were in the good enough state to be read and translated. They can be therefore associated with the goddess Ēostre mentioned by Bede and allow to hypotesize that her cult was widespread among the Germanic tribes in the entire Europe.
A cluster of place names in England contain and a variety of English and continental Germanic names include the element*ēoster, an early Old English word reconstructed by linguists and potentially an earlier form of the goddess name Ēostre. These locations include Eastry (Eastrgena, 788 CE) in Kent, Eastrea (Estrey, 966 CE) in Cambridgeshire, and Eastrington (Eastringatun, 959 CE) in East Riding of Yorkshire.
The element *ēoster also appears in the Old English name Easterwine, a name borne by Bede’s monastery abbot in Wearmouth-Jarrow and which appears an additional three times in the Durham Liber Vitae. The name Aestorhild also appears in the Liber Vitae, and is likely the ancestor of the Middle English name Estrild. Various continental Germanic names include the element, including Austrechild, Austrighysel, Austrovald, and Ostrulf.
Over 150 Romano-Germanic votive inscriptions to the matron Austriahenea were discovered in 1958 near Morken-Harff, Germany. Most of these inscriptions are in an incomplete state, yet many are in a complete enough for reasonable clarity of the inscriptions. Some of these inscriptions refer to the Austriates, evidently the name of a social group.
Her creatures: Hares (Eggs and Hot Cross Buns)
The myth of the Moon gazing hare reflects ancient beliefs. Pagans believed that seeing a moon gazing hare would bring growth, re-birth, abundance, new beginnings and good fortune.
The hare is always an attribute of lunar deities.
The hare is known to be sacred to the goddess Eostre and eventually became known as the Easter bunny. In some countries, it is customary to eat hot cross buns around the time of Easter and Christmas; the cross on the bun is said to represent the four quarters of the moon. These buns were originally pagan offerings and were often hung from rafters to scare off evil that lurked in houses.
In Britain hares were once seen as royal animals and it was forbidden to hunt them.
Moon Gazing Hare by Joanna May
‘Hot Cross Bunns, two a penny buns’ print by Henri Merke and Thomas Rowlandson, 1799
Popular with street sellers, as this print shows, buns made from enriched dough had been popular since Roman times. Traditionally eaten during Lent, during the time of Elizabeth I the London Clerk of Markets forbade the sale of hot cross buns at any other time than Good Friday, Christmas and burials!
Hot-cross-bunns Henri Merke and Thomas Rowlandson, 1799
To others, the hare symbolized purity, and a single hare was often used to signify the Virgin Mary’s purity. This image of the hare, of course, is in sharp contrast to that of the fertile common rabbit.
Pagan myths surrounding mysterious egg-laying hares seem to have stemmed from the similarity between shallow hollows or ‘forms’ used by hares to rest and rear their young, and the nests of birds such as plovers or lapwings – also built at ground level on open grassland or arable farmland.
As such, people would sometimes find eggs in what looked like hare forms – giving rise to the belief that hares laid eggs in spring.
I have only ever seen two hares boxing on a train journey, this behaviour occurs during courtship leading to the saying “mad March hare” which is usually unreceptive females fending off amorous males.
The next time you are on a train, look out of the window and search a field and if you see a lump and if it has ears with a black tip, you will definitely be seeing a hare. They are quite sandy in colour.
Vesna by mickie mueller (copywrite)
(Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Macedonia)
For the Slavs Vesna was the goddess of spring.
As spring symbolized the beginning of a beautiful season, when it bloomed, the nature awoke, all was reborn and renewed life, Vesna had her role as a goddess of youth.
Vesna was one of the sunnier goddesses and was loved by people very much.
It is precisely for this reason in particular the Serbs, had the custom of giving the name Vesna to a female. People, who gave the name Vesna to a daughter, believed that their daughter would be happy and cheerful just like the goddess Vesna, or, as spring. Her name comes from an Indian word vas that means solar, illuminated and shiny. The word vas is located in the root of the name Vesna.
Scent of Vesna
In particular, Vesna was a model for women. She was beautiful and powerful and around her the wonderful scent spread. In addition to beauty, she is also attributed to the power of the Sun, without which she could not get spring.
In ancient Slav mythology, Vesna was the goddess of spring and fertility. She was in charge of spring time, morning and the birth of everything alive. She is also known as Zhiva, Diva and Devana.
Vesna represents the coming of life after winter hibernation and the return of light after a period of darkness.
Polish Slavs called Vesna Devana with the added “title” of the goddess of fertility and sometimes even the goddess of the hunt. Apart from Vesna and Devana, the same goddess was also known as: Zhivana, Zhiva, Siva, Diva, Deva, Devica, Danica etc. The name Lada is a lot more mysterious than the ones mentioned just now. After Slavs converted to Christianity, Vesna’s domain was split between St. Petka and Virgin Mary.
Vesna by Irene Aurankar
Vesna is portrayed as always smiling, beautiful, barefoot, some flowers for clothes. Her hair is long, almost to her knees and various different flowers are in her hair as decoration. Sometimes there’s an apple in her right hand and some grapes in her left hand and sometimes there’s a swallow, the symbol of spring, on her right index finger and a bouquet of flowers in her left hand to symbolize marriage. It was believed that she carried the smell of spring with her wherever she goes and that all spring’s scents are signs of her passing through there.