Friday Reads: It’s Eostre’s Time of Year

eostreIII’m all in for Germanic fertility goddesses carrying eggs and surrounded by hares these days.  Why remove all the fun from a really good pagan holiday?   The more I read about all these old pagan holidays, the more I want to dump the modern versions.  It’s Eostre’s time of year, so go out and celebrate the weekend like a German Fertility Goddess! BTW, my oldest daughter was born on the spring equinox 30 years ago so I have a special love for the season!

The name “Easter” originated with the names of an ancient Goddess and God. The Venerable Bede, (672-735 CE.) a Christian scholar, first asserted in his book De Ratione Temporum that Easter was named after Eostre (a.k.a. Eastre). She was the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people in Northern Europe. Similarly, the “Teutonic dawn goddess of fertility [was] known variously as Ostare, Ostara, Ostern, Eostra, Eostre, Eostur, Eastra, Eastur, Austron and Ausos.1 Her name was derived from the ancient word for spring: “eastre.”

I know my way back peeps were down with Eostre!  Well, until the Romans headed north and ruined the world for every one!!!

There’s a lot of nastiness still coming from that northward drift of Rome.  However, we’re making some improvements and hopefully, we can see a day in American when we are lot more focused on enfranchisement and appreciating differences.  Jonathan Chait has a great article up at NYM on “The Slow Death of the Anti-Gay Marriage Movement”.  It’s about the rise and fall of one of the bigots who looked to stop the marriage equality movement.

Now the movement is in a state of total collapse, with every day seeming to bring new converts to the gay-marriage cause and the opposition losing all of its courage. There is no more telling sign of the opposition’s surrender than the public demoralization of Maggie Gallagher, the leading anti-gay-marriage activist and writer.

The unusual thing about the campaign to ban gay marriage is that it was dying from the moment it was born. Even at its peak, at the very outset, the portents of doom were visible on the horizon — polls showed that young voters strongly supported gay marriage. The best case for Gallagher and her allies appeared to be holding on for years, or even decades, but eventually gay-marriage opponents would age out of the electorate.

Gallagher understood from the beginning that she had to fight that sense of eventual inevitability. Here she is writing a column for National Review in December 2004 whose thesis is captured in its headline, “Not Inevitable.” In the face of clear evidence, Gallagher seized on whatever tiny glimmers of demographic hope she could find. One poll found that while young adults favored gay marriage, teens did not. Was this a statistical blip because of a tiny sample size? Not to Gallagher, who saw it as evidence that “most likely, as more adults voice firm objections to gay marriage, they appear to be having an impact on their children’s attitudes and values.”

Five years later, Gallagher continued to rage against the dying of the light, but less forcefully. A 2009 column phrased her stance as a question rather than an answer (“Is Gay Marriage Inevitable?”). Gallagher was no longer insisting that the youngest voters opposed gay marriage, but was merely hoping that the generation of voters younger than them one day would in a fit of rebellion. “Right now, it’s ‘cool’ to be pro-gay marriage. In ten years, it will be what the old folks think,” she offered hopefully.

Today, the movement has advanced far more rapidly than expected, and it is hard to find much hope at all in Gallagher. She increasingly casts those on her own side as victims. Gallagher insists, in an interview with National Review — she has given up her column — the cause is about “the core civil rights of 7 million Californians to vote on the marriage question.” The rights of a gay couple to marry cannot be allowed to trample on the rights of heterosexuals to vote to ban them from getting married.

The surest sign of resignation is that Gallagher has redirected her focus from stopping gay marriage to preserving the dignity of her reputation and those of her fellow believers. She now presents her cause as a kind of civil rights movement to protect her fellow believers from the stigma of advocating bigotry and discrimination. “I worry when I get an email from a woman who’s a nurse in a hospital,” she told NPR, “who wrote a letter to the editor opposing gay marriage, and finds that she fears her job is in jeopardy.”

This is the second article I’ve seen recently that states that the most put down group in America is the Evangelical Christian and not the “homosexual”.  It looks like White, Republicans and Southern Evangelicals are the most likely group to claim discrimination these days. WTF?

Perceptions of reverse discrimination – so-called because it involves bias against whites, rather than against minorities – are not new, and have been building among American whites for decades. However, the phenomenon is little-studied, in part because some assume such claims by white Americans have little merit.

“We talk about whites who claim reverse discrimination a lot, but we don’t often study them systematically, ” said Stanford sociology Professor Aliya Saperstein. “The issue of reporting racial discrimination is such a loaded one. So, we were curious about who the white people were who would say out loud to a survey interviewer that they had been treated unfairly because of their race. What makes them different?”

Using data from a 2006 survey of American racial and religious diversity, Saperstein, along with fellow sociologist Damon Mayrl, found that the answer varies depending on where you are. In the South, the most likely discrimination reporters are evangelical Christians. Elsewhere, it’s Republicans.

The reasons for this aren’t ideological – the specifics of people’s religious or political beliefs seem to make no difference. Instead, the researchers suggest, Southern evangelical churches and the GOP are acting as regional communities for racially disaffected whites.

The findings show that common stereotypes of white people concerned with “reverse racism” – the stereotype of the “angry white male,” for instance – are not the whole story. While the study shows whites who report racial discrimination are more likely to be recently unemployed and pessimistic about their future, they are also more likely to say they have daily contact with non-whites, and count at least one non-white person among their eight closest friends.

“You have to look beyond the simple view of who’s claiming racial discrimination,” said Mayrl, a professor at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and first author on the study. “There is no singular profile of the white discrimination reporter.”

The paper is currently available online ahead of publication in Social Science Research.

Here’s an example for your shock and awe viewing pleasure.

In the media’s narrative, you would think that homosexuals are the poor souls who have been banished by society like ugly stepchildren and are now rising to overcome incredible odds.

But what about today? Let’s be honest: If you are a conservative evangelical who believes in the biblical definition of traditional marriage then guess what? You are one of the following: An outcast, a bigot, narrow-minded, a “hater” or all of the above. It’s a different type of ridicule but it’s still ridicule.

The tables have been turned. Evangelicals are now the ugly stepchild. In our American culture today, you can easily make the argument that it is harder to stand for biblical truth than it is to be a supporter of gay marriage in today’s society.

Yes, folks that’s why Jesus always hung out with the kewl kids and money lenders at the table and the Beatitudes were all about how blessed the sanctimonious and rich are!!!

eostre eggsOne of the other things that really gets my goat these days is the lack of awareness of just how unequal wealth and incomes are in the US. This definitely creates an America that can’t reach its full potential.

1. $2.13 per hour vs. $3,000,000.00 per hour

Each of the Koch brothers saw his investments grow by  $6 billion in one year, which is three million dollars per hour based on a 40-hour ‘work’ week. They used some of the money to try to  kill renewable energystandards around the country.

Their income portrays them, in a society measured by economic status, as a million times more valuable than the  restaurant server who cheers up our lunch hours while hoping to make enough in tips to pay the bills.

A comparison of top and bottom salaries within large corporations is much less severe, but a lot more common. For CEOs and minimum-wage workers, the  difference is $5,000.00 per hour vs. $7.25 per hour.

2. A single top income could buy housing for every homeless person in the U.S.

On a winter day in 2012  over 633,000 people were homeless in the United States. Based on an annual single room occupancy  (SRO) cost of $558 per month, any ONE of the  ten richest Americans would have enough with his 2012 income to pay for a room for every homeless person in the U.S.  for the entire year. These ten rich men together made more than our entire  housing budget.

For anyone still believing “they earned it,” it should be noted that  most of the Forbes 400 earnings came from  minimally-taxed, non-job-creating capital gains.

So, BB showed me this great story about another great king of England dug up in an obscure location.  This time it is the grave of Alfred the Great.

(PHGCOM, Public Domain)

WINCHESTER, ENGLAND—Human remains thought to be those of Alfred the Great, who died in A.D. 899, have been exhumed from an unmarked grave at St. Bartholomew’s Church. Alfred, the first “king of the English,” had been buried near Winchester Cathedral, but his body was moved to Hyde Abbey in 1110, which was later destroyed during the reign of Henry VIII. Some think his bones were transferred to St. Bartholomew’s in the eighteenth century. Church officials decided to empty the grave in order to protect the bones from curiosity seekers. Nick Edmonds, a church spokesperson, said that no applications have been made to study the bones at this time. “Of course, that would only be granted if the court were satisfied with everything proposed, both legally and ethically. Whatever happens, the remains will stay in the care and protection of the church and the consistory court until they are reinterred,” he added.

I’m still exciting about the Richard III find.

Okay, one more interesting thing for those of you that find the old ways and the old days interesting.ixchelrabbit The statue on the right is of Ix Chel, the Maya Moon Goddess.  She is also called “Lady Rainbow”.

Ix Chel is the Maya Goddess of the Moon, Water, Weaving and Childbirth. She is shown here in three of Her many aspects. Left to right: Chak Chel, the Old Moon Goddess, called the Midwife of Creation; Ix Chel in Her main form as Mother Goddess and Weaver who set the Universe in motion; and the Young Moon Goddess, shown with Her totem animal the rabbit.

Her story is very interesting. 

Ix Chel (sometimes spelled Ixchel), the moon goddess, is one of the most important ancient Maya deities, connected to fertility, and procreation. Her name has been translated as “Lady Rainbow”, or as “She of the Pale Face”, alluding to the moon’s surface.

Although not directly mentioned in colonial sources, in the codices Ix Chel appears in both old and young variations, to whom Maya religion specialists attribute respectively the names of Goddess O and Goddess I. As an aged woman, Ix Chel is usually portrayed with a serpent headdress, a skirt adorned with crossed bones, and jaguar claws instead of hands. It has been proposed that the two variants correspond to different aspects of the moon: the old Ix Chel is connected with the full moon, and its waning aspect, and the young Ix Chel is connected with the crescent moon. This interpretation is partially supported by some Classic period depictions of the young goddess sitting on a crescent moon, holding a rabbit.

So, that’s a little this and that from me today.  What’s on you reading and blogging list today?

25 Comments on “Friday Reads: It’s Eostre’s Time of Year”

  1. The Mayan Goddess information was really great. I love to read about weaving/spinning and other fiber stuff represented in indigenous cultures.

    Kat, have you seen this? Literary sleuths find genuine author

    A little-known Thai woman is the real author of an important Buddhist treatise – not the high-profile monk previously credited, according to new findings. Thammanuthamma-patipatti [Practice in perfect conformity with the Dhamma] contains a series of dialogues that supposedly took place between two of the most prominent monks in 20th century Thailand, and is widely considered a valuable and profound Buddhist text. Until now the book has been attributed to one of these two monks – Venerable Luang Pu Mun Bhuridatta, a national saint of Thailand who led the Forest Tradition revival movement in the first half of the 20th century. The movement has monasteries worldwide including five in the UK. But a researcher at the University of Leeds has traced the authorship to Khunying Yai Damrongthammasan, a wealthy and extremely devout woman who developed an impressive knowledge of Buddhist scriptures during her lifetime.

    Read more at:

    And…I thought Ralph would get a kick out of this: The Texas Nationalist Movement Is Pretty Good At Photoshop

    • dakinikat says:

      very neat … I’ve not read much Thai buddhist thought

    • bostonboomer says:

      I love that Mayan goddess figure!

      • NW Luna says:

        So do I. And the weaving reference is fascinating. Fiber engineering!

        JJ, I have to confess I’ve recently taken up spinning on suspended/drop spindles. Off down the rabbit hole…..And I was just going to start back into a serious trial of weaving practice, which will have to be pushed back a bit.

        I’ve found that spinning to just spin is a fine way to deal with PAD.

      • NW Luna says:

        I wish we could meet up for a Spin-In!

    • NW Luna says:

      There is a long tradition of accomplished Buddhist women — both laywomen and nuns — though they were in the minority compared with the number of monks, and of course left out of much of the history books.

      I have a book of poetry written by various Chinese Buddhist nuns, Daughters of Emptiness. These excerpts are from the poems of Lianghai, who lived during the Taiping Rebellion (mid-1800s) and for a while was the abbess at Mount Lingyan in Suzhou.

      Bright and luminous is the Pure Land right in front of your eyes,
      Don’t bother setting out in search of the Golden Buddha.
      On the road to the Land of Joy, who will be the first to arrive?
      So close by: the mountains of home surrounded by setting sun.

      Rubble and ruin, brambles and briars: this is the true Pur Land,
      Seeing, hearing, knowing, feeling: these are the ancient Amitabha.
      All you need to do is stay where you are — but forget all distinctions,
      Clapping your hands with a “Ha! Ha!” and singing out a “La! La!”


      “Debating about dust is a moose’s howl,
      Speaking about truth is the lion’s roar.”

      I would have loved to meet her. So I will go clapping my hands and singing out today!

    • NW Luna says:

      I followed the Ix Chel link to a lovely depiction of her aspects. The central one shows her spinning with a fat cop already wound around a bottom-whorl drop spindle, if I’m not mistaken.

      Errrr. “cop” is the fiber-world term for the spun yarn which gets wrapped around the spindle. No police were harmed in the making of this product.

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    Religious beliefs are based on the theory that it was Eve who brought about the future destruction of mankind by falling under the spell of the Devil posing as a snake.

    The story gets better when Mary is introduced as “the virgin mother” thus declaring that sexuality is “sinful” which has paved the way over the centuries for the mistreatment that women suffered down through the ages.

    No wonder the role of women is a screwed up as it is. An independent woman is viewed as another Eve, out to ruin the world if given the opportunity. In some cultures a virgin faced “sacrifice” to appease the gods. Senseless, stupid, insane logic that still resonates in view of current attempts by 21st century lawmakers still warped in the same mindless renderings.

    As for some in the South, they are still “smarting” over the loss of the Civil War close to 200 years following the event. It is mostly from this region that you hear the drumbeat of “state’s rights” where they prefer the teaching of creationism to science and their attempts to restrict voters rights.

    The GOP flourishes in these red states which puts “progress” at a standstill until they finally catch up.

    • dakinikat says:

      It’s the rural areas of the south and most of the other states that I’ve lived in that create the problems put forth by the GOP. Our government form was set up to give low populated areas a voice. They are over represented because of that.

    • dakinikat says:

      New level reached in the anti abortion crazy: they now have made up a thing called “post birth” abortion. I guess people finally discovered there was no such thing as a “partial birth” abortion so now they have to find some other crazy, nonexistent situation.

      Given what most of them consider “live”, “babies”, and “abortion” … pretty soon having a menstrual period will be considered abortion and they will try to out law that.

      • NW Luna says:

        soon having a menstrual period will be considered abortion

        Failure of clump of cells to attach to the endometrium! Bad women!

        Those wingnuts are so far removed from biological reality I sometimes wonder how they can stay alive.

  3. dakinikat says:

    Top Republican Warns Of French People Illegally Crossing Mexican Border In South Texas…

    Yup… the french are just dying to get away from their great health care, great education systems, culture, and ability to retire to come here to the land of slavery reinstatement.

  4. roofingbird says:

    God sellers.

    When they replace all those godawfull Sunday shows with science, history and citizenship, I might start feeling a little empathy for their struggle to live a reduced and more realistic place in life.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Great post, Dak. It sounds to me like the goddess Eoestre’s name, Easter, and estrogen all come from the same root meaning “rebirth” or something similar.

    • bostonboomer says:

      A different point of view on the word origins.

      Etymologically, Eostre, or, as it is sometimes called, Ostara, may come from the word ‘east’, meaning dawn. Others have also tried to link Eostre with ‘estrogen’ and ‘estrus’. These words, however, are more widely considered to be derived from the Greek oistros, meaning ‘gadfly’ or ‘frenzy’. Interestingly, the word ‘spring’ (from to spring, to leap or jump up, burst out, 0ld English springan, a common Teutonic word, ccompare German springen), primarily the act of springing or leaping, is applied to the season of the year in which plant life begins to bud and shoot.

      • dakinikat says:

        Bill O’Reilly has me on a roll. It’s hard to not laugh at him about these wars on supposed christian holidays that are really co-opted pagan holidays. It makes me wonder if he really had good jesuit teachers or not. That certainly are open about how they did that historically to get the pagans to switch cults.

      • NW Luna says:

        I always liked the possible connection between Eostre/Ostara and Astarte or Ashtaroth.

        But the Old European languages were different enough from Greek and Latin that I’m sure there’s no connection to estrogen or estrus, — those concepts are much more modern.

      • NW Luna says:

        Just checked my OED (Hard copy version, so alas no link). Eostre, variant of Eastre, name of a goddess whose festival was celebrated at the vernal equinox. Old Teutonic “austron” (east or comes from east) combined with Sanskrit “usra” (dawn). Or that’s the gist of several paragraphs of very tiny type. Various refs to Old English, Mid High German, Ostrogoths, and more.

        Fascinating. I loved studying mythology in college. There’s so much history, sociology, and culture bound up in it.

  6. littleisis says:

    Thanks for the shout out to Eostre, Dak. I’ve seen a lot of the holy rollers claim they are being discriminated against too. Sometimes a spade is just a spade. People are calling them narrow-minded bigots because they ARE narrow minded bigots. It’s one thing to personally believe in “traditional” marriage and another to try to force those beliefs on everyone else. That’s what they simply don’t get about how condescending they sound. Everyone who isn’t exactly like them and believes all the things they believe are “wrong” or “ungodly.”

  7. NW Luna says:

    I was flabberghasted to read that the infalliable Pope actually deigned to *gasp* wash and touch the feet of women. Can a ray of light and sanity have touched him?

    In his most significant break with tradition yet, Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of two young women at a juvenile detention center – a surprising departure from church rules that restrict the Holy Thursday ritual to men.

    No pope has ever washed the feet of a woman before, and Francis’ gesture sparked a debate among some conservatives and liturgical purists, who lamented he had set a “questionable example.” Liberals welcomed the move as a sign of greater inclusiveness in the church.

    Speaking to the young offenders, including Muslims and Orthodox Christians, Francis said that Jesus washed the feet of his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion in a gesture of love and service.
    “This is a symbol, it is a sign. Washing your feet means I am at your service,” Francis told the group, aged 14 to 21, at the Casal del Marmo detention facility in Rome.
    “Help one another. This is what Jesus teaches us,” the pope said. “This is what I do. And I do it with my heart. I do this with my heart because it is my duty. As a priest and bishop, I must be at your service.