Tuesday, March 1, 2011

30 days of Ostara; Day 11

"Sheep, particularly rams are associated with fertility, interestingly enough, lambs are now associated with Easter."
It is because of Attis, Cybele's lover, who was a shepherd. There are not many Goddesses associated with sheep. We have Brigid, Lakhar and Sirtur, but Brigid and her sheep are associated with Imbolc. Sheep (ram) are usually associated with God, and naturally Sheep God's wife is a Heavenly Ewe.
I suppose one reason to why sheep are associated with Ostara is that at the Spring Equinox the sun moves from Pisces (fishes) to Aries (ram).

The flower symbolism associated with pussy willows is motherhood. 
In England and Russia they say people used to tap each other on shoulder with wisps of pussy willow, to wish health and prosperity. In Finland there's a tradition of "virpominen". 

One of Eostre's devotees was a small hare who wished very much to give a gift to his goddess, but he didn't know what he could possibly offer that would be of any value to her. Then one day while foraging, the hare came across a fresh egg, a very prized commodity indeed. The little hare wanted very badly to eat the egg, as it had been a long time since he'd feasted on anything finer than dry grasses. Before he could take a bite of his prize, he realized this egg might make the perfect gift for Eostre. But, he pondered, Eostre could have all the eggs she wanted, anytime she wanted them. She was a goddess, a creator, the embodiment of Life itself. Giving her just any egg would never do. How, he wondered, could he make this egg a fit offering for his goddess?

The little hare took the egg home and pondered how to make it as beautiful and new as Eostre made the world each spring. He began to decorate the egg. He painted it in the hues of Eostre's spring woods and placed upon the shell symbols sacred to Eostre. When he felt he could not make the egg any more beautiful, he took it to Eostre and offered it to her.

Eostre was so pleased by the little hare's sacrifice of his egg to her, and by the manner in which he decorated it for her, that she wanted everyone--especially children, who are themselves symbols of new life--to enjoy these representations of her bounty. Since that Ostara day long ago, the descendants of that hare have taken up the task of delivering decorated eggs to the world's children at spring. They are called Eostre's Bunnies or, more commonly, the Easter Bunny.

(In my mind this story is leaving out something very important.
It is not good to ask the little hare to keep sacrificing and giving, just for the "fun" of it. The Goddess should have been so moved by the little hare's sacrifice that She made the hare into her special pet, who was being fed and cuddled by Her handmaids, and never go hungry again, never be in need for anything ever again.
Also, it is not okay of the Goddess to ask the little hare be making Easter eggs for human children. What have the kids ever done to the little hare? Nothing. What have the little children done to Goddess Eostre so that She would be forcing hares to decorate eggs for all eternity just to please the little ingrates? Symbols of birth? Nah. All babies are, not only human babies. I don't like this kind of art-ism. No, asking the little hare and all his/her descendants for ever more to make Easter eggs to little children would be like telling your husband-to-be to give diamond rings to every girl around. This story needs a better ending... hmm...)

Easter cubes, baskets and cards - printables
metal egg tag . you don't need a dremel. Most metal sheets/foil are thin enough to be cut with ordinary scissors and you can use a simple nail and hammer to punch a hole on it.

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