elle: (Default)
[personal profile] elle posting in [community profile] goddessfolk
As seems to happen nearly every year around this time, articles abound about the Pagan origins of Easter and it's associations with Ishtar, Inanna, Eostre...insert-goddess-of-choice.

What I've found interesting is that now mainstream media are catching on (prime example - Country Living's recent article "So where exactly does the 'Easter bunny' come from?"), the trend amongst Pagans is to debunk the information we've been sharing round for decades as completely false and lacking any historical context (please read [personal profile] lizwilliams excellent interview with Adrian Bott recently published on the Wild Hunt - "UK Pagans respond to questions on the origins of Easter and Ostara").

Personally, I approach this trend with a sense of dubiousness.  Whilst I appreciate that someone has taken the trouble of researching and fact checking and want to put things straight, I also wonder what the motivation is in doing so.  Are they simply trying to be "more Pagan than thou" about it all.  

In the Avalonian tradition that I've practiced and taught for over 10 years now, we traditionally honour the spring time goddess as Artha; a goddess which, while not wholly made up, has more origins in general myth and unverified personal gnosis, than actual historical fact, and I've always been very up front about this when teaching about this goddess.  Despite this though, the connections we make with this goddess work, and the mythological weaving of her story also work and I, and many others, have found spirit and meaning in this.  

I don't have a problem with fact checking (Liz's article above actually encourages people to fact check on their own) or making light that some things (festivals, deities, etc.) are modern interpretations rather than historical traditions or reconstructions.  I do have some issue with those who would utilise debunking as a way to invalidate the ideas and traditions of others.  So when it comes to the latest spate of articles, I tend to read them with a critical eye and a healthy dose of scepticism as to the motivation behind it while trying to be open minded to learning something new.

I'd be interested to hear others' thoughts about this and how you experience it yourself.  I appreciate some of us are in different countries, and sometimes that can lend to differing experiences and views.  So please do share!  And Happy Easter if you are celebrating it!

Date: 2017-04-18 02:37 am (UTC)
blessed_oak: (Vineflake)
From: [personal profile] blessed_oak
I do appreciate the fact-checking and the articles and posts that result from them, as long as they are informational and not launched as an attack. An article like Williams' makes it easier to investigate a subject, for those who want to.

Bott did say that he had learned to be less confrontational, and I think that's a good thing.

As a former Catholic, I can say that they are not worried about where the bunnies and eggs came from. On the other hand, I've never talked about this with any of the Pagans I know.

And personally, as I said, I do like to know what the history is, as far as possible, from a source that seems trustworthy. Not just because I want to be "right" but because you never know what enlightening path that might lead you down. And in the end, I am going to go where I feel drawn to, where I feel connected.

Date: 2017-04-19 02:07 am (UTC)
blessed_oak: (Vineflake)
From: [personal profile] blessed_oak
It is a tough thing to balance, too. Even if you care about knowing the history (and any other applicable facts), you can only research so much. At some point you just have to go with what you know, at least for the time being. And that point is going to be different for everyone.

I'm the type who's always paralyzed to inaction because I can never know all the facts. :P
curiosity: An interesting play of ocean waves and clouds. (Picto: Blue Clouds)
From: [personal profile] curiosity
This may be a somewhat disjointed post. Coherency is at 80%.

There was a pretty stern dressing-down blog post from part of the Jewish community to the Pagan community on Tumblr, basically ripping Pagans a new one for appropriating a Jewish holiday.

I forget the specifics but the broad strokes are that the -only- Easter goddess is Ostara, who was made up by a monk who only mentioned her once so that invalidates our claim.

The details of their version of the holiday explain the rabbit and the egg and so theirs is the just claim, etc.

This post reminds me that I wanted to read up on the Jewish holiday for my own personal interests.

At one of my jobs, two women were discussing it and I mentioned this theory and got shut down swiftly for suggesting it was Jewish. It was Ishtar's day, etc.

Soooooooooo. I'll be doing my own research just as soon as I wade through everything else on my list.

Personally, I don't really do anything for holidays anymore except tend my internal altar, light some candles, and do a more focused meditation before going to sleep.


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