The Goddess Ēostre - Ostara
Godric was glad to be able to go outside to enjoy the warming rays that were shining down from the face of the Goddess who rides across the Northumbrian countryside each day. For months now her rays could not penetrate the cold winds from the north, which had engulfed the countryside in a frigid blanket of cold air. During this time of bleak darkness ice and snow covered the earth like a shell that would not allow the dormant seeds within her fertile body to break out and receive Sunna's warm kiss of life. The change, though barely perceptible on a daily basis, was unmistakable once the days began to lengthen, and the ground broke open under the relentless urge of the greenery beneath to bask in Sunna's glory.
Just outside of his thatch-roofed hut Godric had placed an old tree stump, which served as both table, or seat, depending on the need. With his spearhead in one hand, and a whetstone in the other, he sat down and began to sing as he carefully sharpened the metal blades on either side of the spearhead. He had barely reached the part in the song where the sailor kisses his wife goodbye when his daughter came running up to him in a very excited state, interrupting the next verse.
" Father ! Father ! Look,..... look at what I have ! " she exclaimed as she held the object in her open palm to show him.
Godric stopped sharpening his spear for a moment and looked over at the object that his daughter had rushed over to show him. Despite the item being very ordinary, he tried his best to sound as excited as she obviously was about its discovery.
" Why that is a chicken egg, Alodia. Wherever did you find it ? " he asked his daughter with a pleasant smile.
Alodia placed her free hand on her hip, and narrowed her eyes at her father, to show her displeasure with his sarcastic response.
" I know it is a chicken egg father, but it is the first egg that our chickens have laid for quite some time ! " she explained in a somewhat cross tone.
Godric could not help but laugh when his six year old daughter acted like an adult of twenty years or more. Not only were her mannerisms well beyond her age, but her facial expressions reminded him so very much of his wife Bletsung when she scolded him when they were courting.
" Our chickens stay inside all winter long in the dark and cold of our hut. In such bleak conditions it is no wonder that the chickens will not lay eggs. And I can not blame them one little bit ! I would not want to raise my chicks at that time of year either ! " he told his daughter with a grin.
" Is that why I was born in Weodmōnaþ ( August ) father ? " she asked innocently.
Godric laughed so hard that he dropped his slippery whetstone on the ground. When he finally was able to compose himself enough he answered his daughter's question.
" Little one, we are not the same as these simple animals. We can,...., hatch,...., a child at any time. " he explained to her, as he carefully chose his words.
When his daughter's frown became even more pronounced he held out his hand.
" Let me have the egg, and I will show you something very special. " he told her.
Alodia reluctantly gave her father the precious first egg of Spring, placing it very gently on his palm. Godric, with a twinkle in his eye, and a grin upon his face, took up the egg with his fingers, and cracked its shell on his spearhead.
" Father ! You broke it !! " Alodia blurted out in a fit of disappointment.
Ignoring his daughter's indignation, Godric put down the spearhead, split the egg open, and let the contents spill out onto his hand.
" Do you see the yellow yolk in the middle ? " he asked.
" Yes ! " she replied, as she stood on her toes to see what he was showing her.
As he lowered his hand he finished his thought.
" The yolk represents the Sun, while the egg-white is the maiden Goddess. It has been stated that the union of the two first happened during Ēosturmōnaþ. Further, it is said that the eggs' shell is shaped like it is as a reminder to us of the continuous cycle of the seasons. " he informed her.
Just as he finished his daughter's lesson Bletsung opened the door, and poked her head outside.
" There you are young lady ! " she exclaimed in a cross tone that imitated her daughter's reaction only moments before.
I thought I made it very clear that you were to help with the chores before going outside to play. " she added with her lips pursed.
Godric raised his hand to show his wife the egg.
" Do not be mad at Alodia. She became excited when she found that the chickens had begun to lay eggs again, and I felt it was important for her to know why they do not produce eggs year round. " he explained in his daughter's defense.
Bletsung decided to play along despite her impatience to finish the housework.
" Did you bother to tell her about Ēostre ? " she asked her husband.
Godric grinned wickedly.
" No ! Sadly I was rudely interrupted before I could finish ! " he told his wife.
Then Godric quickly added :
" I thought you did not want her to know about the Gods until she was older ? " he asked with a hint of sarcasm.
Bletsung ignored her husband's question and wiped her hands upon the towel that hung about her waist. When they were dry she knelt down in front of her daughter and held Alodia's hands while she looked her in the eyes. She stared at her daughter for several moments, to let her know that what she was about to say was important, before speaking.
" Ēostre is a very special Goddess. She is known to us as the Dawn Goddess, and she returns each year at this time on the warm south winds. She fertilizes the earth, and makes buds form on the trees. From the fertile ground, that she has blessed, plants rise for us to harvest and eat. And she does not come alone either ! Ēostre, or Ostara, as some call her, brings back with her the birds, the hares, and all the other animals that have gone away in the cold winter months. She is like a mother to us all ! One who wraps us in her warm bosom, and the one who allows life itself to grow in her fertile womb. " she explained.
Bletsung kissed her daughter on the forehead, and flicked her finger gently at her nose, before giving Alodia a stern look.
" Now, little lady, please go inside and do your chores. " she told her daughter before gently slapping her on the behind, and pushing her into the hut.
As Bletsung turned to join her daughter inside, her eyes met her husband's stare.
" Yes ! Maybe this year we should allow her to go with us to the temple at Godmundingham to celebrate the coming of the Spring Equinox, and Ēosturmōnaþ. " she told her husband with some reluctance.
" I agree ! I think it is time for her to learn how to honor Wōden, þunor, and of course Ēostre. " he replied.
As Bletsung disappeared back into their hut Godric picked up his whetstone, and his spearhead, and sat back down on the stump.
" Now where was I,... oh yes, ' Before he sailed he kissed her once, and twice, and thrice......
( This story is dedicated to my maternal grandmother Myrtle Tappen ( originally Topham ) who's ancestors may very well have lived, and worshiped, at the Pagan temple at Godmundingham, in Northumbria. )
- The End
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2018.