Eastertide is a celebration of the goddess Easter, and the spring and new life she heralds into the world. This year this may be harder for us to get excited about, as we face a pandemic that may not run its course for a long time. I am here to try and remind you that not all is lost, we are keeping as separate as possible that we might all make it to the other side of this. Just as the plants and animals hide and sleep through winter that they may burst forth full of life when Easter calls them forth. Like the animals in winter, we can and should get out for exercise (even a walk around the block while maintaining 2m of spacing).
An alternative name for Eastertide is Sigrblot, meaning Victory blot, was practised historically in Scandinavia. This year, I find myself more drawn to this alternative than usual. For at Eastertide we will indeed be making offerings to ensure our society’s victory over Covid-19. This poetic battle has the potential to be a major threat to our society.
In Anglo-Saxon England, Eastertide was a celebration of the coming of spring, known as Eostre, for the goddess of the same name. The month in which this festival occurred was named for her as well, according to Bede’s De Ratione Temporum (On the Reckoning of Time). Beyond a name, and the date of her festival, we know little of the historic Easter. Her name is cognate with many Indo-European “Dawn Goddesses” the UPG of many Freeholders has placed her as a goddess of new beginnings, and renewal in addition to the assumed roles of dawn and spring goddess. She has been called upon to witness marriages as the beginning of a new cycle of a couple’s life, and to receive offerings on behalf of our community that we might be renewed each Althing.
I hope you all are able to find the peace and magic of Easter as we do our best to preserve life for when this quarantine ends. Easter will call us forth to the world, just as she calls her bunnies and flowers now, when it is safe for us to do so.
May Easter bless us all with renewal when our hibernation has passed!
In Frith and Service,
Freyr of the BCHF