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Deities of the Spring Equinox

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Deities of the Spring Equinox

Early spring blossoms are often associated with deities of rebirth and renewal.

Image © Patti Wigington 2009

Spring is a time of great celebration in many cultures. It's the time of year when the planting begins, people begin to once more enjoy the fresh air, and we can reconnect with the earth again after the long, cold winter. A number of different gods and goddesses from different pantheons are connected with the themes of Spring and Ostara.

  • Asasa Ya (Ashanti): This earth mother goddess prepares to bring forth new life in the spring, and the Ashanti people honor her at the festival of Durbar, alongside Nyame, the sky god who brings rain to the fields.
  • Cybele (Roman): This mother goddess of Rome was at the center of a rather bloody Phrygian cult, in which eunuch priests performed mysterious rites in her honor. Her lover was Attis (he was also her grandson, but that's another story), and her jealousy caused him to castrate and kill himself. His blood was the source of the first violets, and divine intervention allowed Attis to be resurrected by Cybele, with some help from Zeus. In some areas, there is still an annual three-day celebration of Attis' rebirth and Cybele's power.
  • Eostre (western Germanic): Little is known about the worship of this Teutonic spring goddess, but she is mentioned by the Venerable Bede, who said that Eostre's following had died out by the time he compiled his writings in the eighth century. Jacob Grimm referred to her by the High German equivalent, Ostara, in his 1835 manuscript, Deutsche Mythologie. Eostre's name is the root of our present day spring celebration of Ostara.
  • Flora (Roman): This goddess of spring and flowers had her own festival, Floralia, which was celebrated every year between April 28 to May 3. Romans dressed in bright robes and floral wreaths, and attended theater performances and outdoor shows. Offerings of milk and honey were made to the goddess.
  • Freya (Norse): This fertility goddess abandons the earth during the cold months, but returns in the spring to restore nature's beauty. She wears a magnificent necklace called Brisingamen, which represents the fire of the sun.
  • Osiris (Egyptian): This lover of Isis dies and is reborn in a resurrection story. The resurrection theme is popular among spring deities, and is also found in the stories of Adonis, Mithras and Attis as well.
  • Saraswati (Hindu): This Hindu goddess of the arts, wisdom and learning has her own festival each spring in India, called Saraswati Puja. She is honored with prayers and music, and is usually depicted holding lotus blossoms and the sacred Vedas.

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