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Sun Mar 31, 2013, 05:21 PM

Have you seen the "Ishtar = Easter" meme floating around? Yeah, about that...

Easter Is Not Named After Ishtar, And Other Truths I Have To Tell You



Let’s start from the top:

This is Ishtar …

Okay, great. So far things are fairly accurate. The relief pictured here, known as the Burney Relief (also called the Queen of the Night relief) is widely considered to be an Ancient Babylonian representation of Ishtar (although some scholars believe that the woman depicted might be Lilitu or Ereshkigal). This relief is currently housed in the British Museum in London, but originates from southern Iraq and is nearly 4,000 years old.

… pronounced Easter.

Actually, in modern English we pronounce it the way it looks. A case could be made for pronouncing it Eesh-tar, but I have yet to come across a credible source that gives the original pronunciation as Easter.

Easter is originally the celebration of Ishtar, the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility and sex.

Ishtar was the goddess of love, war and sex. These days, thanks to Herodotus, she is especially associated with sacred prostitution* (also known as temple prostitution), which, in the religions of the Ancient Near East, allegedly took on the form of every woman having to, at some point in her life, go to the temple of Ishtar and have sex with the first stranger who offered her money. Once a woman entered the temple of Ishtar for the purpose of sacred prostitution, she was not allowed to leave until she’d done the deed. I can’t imagine that sacred prostitution sex was ever very good sex, but hey, what do I know? Probably some people were pretty into it – I mean, if you can imagine it, someone’s made porn about it, right?

Anyway, the point I am trying to make here is that, yes, Ishtar was associated with fertility and sex. However, her symbols were the lion, the gate and the eight-pointed star; I can’t find any evidence of eggs or rabbits symbolically belonging to her. And Easter has nothing to do with her.

The rest, a pretty interesting read: http://bellejarblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/easter-is-not-named-after-ishtar-and-other-truths-i-have-to-tell-you/

Don't feel bad, I fell for it, too.



P.S. on edit: this isn't any kind of attempt to deny Easter's pagan roots. Just an argument for getting our pagans straight.

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Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply Have you seen the "Ishtar = Easter" meme floating around? Yeah, about that... (Original post)
WilliamPitt Mar 2013 OP
MADem Mar 2013 #1
winter is coming Mar 2013 #6
MADem Mar 2013 #7
6000eliot Mar 2013 #13
dflprincess Mar 2013 #19
6000eliot Mar 2013 #22
MADem Mar 2013 #21
villager Mar 2013 #2
Cleita Mar 2013 #3
Dragonfli Mar 2013 #8
JVS Mar 2013 #4
The Velveteen Ocelot Mar 2013 #5
sakabatou Mar 2013 #9
Bernardo de La Paz Mar 2013 #15
tavalon Apr 2013 #30
Phillip McCleod Mar 2013 #10
mindwalker_i Mar 2013 #11
Marrah_G Mar 2013 #12
Bernardo de La Paz Mar 2013 #14
TexasProgresive Mar 2013 #16
xtraxritical Mar 2013 #17
WilliamPitt Apr 2013 #24
xtraxritical Apr 2013 #28
DhhD Mar 2013 #18
muriel_volestrangler Mar 2013 #20
AnnieBW Mar 2013 #23
Hekate Apr 2013 #25
MissMarple Apr 2013 #26
In_The_Wind Apr 2013 #27
tavalon Apr 2013 #29
Matariki Apr 2013 #31

Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Sun Mar 31, 2013, 05:25 PM

1. I read your headline, and my first thought went to (Oh, The Horror).....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishtar_(film)




"A Christmas Story," it ain't!!


Warren Beatty as the Easter Bunny, perhaps?

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Response to MADem (Reply #1)

Sun Mar 31, 2013, 05:36 PM

6. LOL, that's exactly what I was thinking. I guess some bad experiences stay with you forever. n/t

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Response to winter is coming (Reply #6)

Sun Mar 31, 2013, 05:42 PM

7. Even Dustin Hoffman said something along those lines!!

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Response to MADem (Reply #7)

Sun Mar 31, 2013, 07:38 PM

13. The late Gene Shalit's one-line review: "Ishtar . . . Ish tarrible!"

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Response to 6000eliot (Reply #13)

Sun Mar 31, 2013, 08:42 PM

19. Gene Shalit is still alive

just retired.

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Response to dflprincess (Reply #19)

Sun Mar 31, 2013, 11:09 PM

22. My bad! Isn't there a web site devoted to whether or not celebrities are still with us?

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Response to 6000eliot (Reply #13)

Sun Mar 31, 2013, 10:19 PM

21. I remember that!

I enjoyed that guy's reviews....hokey, but fun!

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Sun Mar 31, 2013, 05:33 PM

2. I think the point is that Easter has a lot to do with the Goddess, Will. More so, originally

Last edited Mon Apr 1, 2013, 02:39 AM - Edit history (2)

...than with "the God."

And note that those bunnies and colored eggs weren't what accompanied JC into the tomb!

Happy Spring!

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Sun Mar 31, 2013, 05:33 PM

3. Bunnies and eggs are a European tradition in honor of Oestara,

Estra, Ostara and many other names the European goddesses of spring and fertility go by.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #3)

Sun Mar 31, 2013, 06:26 PM

8. true, It is clearer when people learn the sabbath is celebrated during the equinox

Clearly to celebrate spring which was linked inexorably with fertility in a seasonal environment where spring fertility was very important to later harvests and general survival. Fertility was thought to be driven by the same forces for animals (even two legged) as well as crops and forest grown food sources, the Goddess Oestara was honored for all things fertility equally.

Most neo-pagans still hold the sabbath on March 21, but some prefer the accuracy provided by the actual timing of the equinox in a given year.

http://www.archaeoastronomy.com/myclock.html

The two traditions I was educated in, teach what you posted and differ only very slightly in the pronunciation and some very minor ritual details, the original pagans probably also differed somewhat from the modern re-creations of them, I have never seen a book of shadows that is known to be from pre-burning times, most agree the original detailed rituals and traditions have been lost, there are some that claim they have inherited those rituals and grimoires but don't really prove anything, of course the catch is you would never see the proof or the ancient book of shadows if not an initiate, so I suppose anything is possible.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Sun Mar 31, 2013, 05:33 PM

4. What happens to this whole line of argument when you go to another country like Russia?

Do scoffers have to dig up some ancient deity that sounds like Пасха?

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Sun Mar 31, 2013, 05:33 PM

5. Or maybe this:

The modern English term Easter, cognate with modern German Ostern, developed from the Old English word Ēastre or Ēostre, which itself developed prior to 899. This is generally held to have originally referred to the name of an Anglo-Saxon goddess, Ēostre, a form of the widely attested Indo-European dawn goddess. The evidence for the Anglo-Saxon goddess, however, has not been universally accepted, and some have proposed that Eostre may have meant "the month of opening" or that the name Easter may have arisen from the designation of Easter Week in Latin as in albis.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Sun Mar 31, 2013, 06:35 PM

9. I don't think it has anything to do with Ishtar

Easter is really an amalgamation of Christianity and paganism (like other holidays).

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Response to sakabatou (Reply #9)

Sun Mar 31, 2013, 08:15 PM

15. And like how saints are concessions to (covert) polytheism.

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #15)

Mon Apr 1, 2013, 04:28 PM

30. Yeah, we must have been pretty strong back then to get such concessions,

I alas, wasn't a glimmer in my Christian mothers eye when such decisions were made.

I personally allow Jesus into my pantheon, but Yahweh doesn't play well with others, so he isn't allowed in my sandbox.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Sun Mar 31, 2013, 06:54 PM

10. classic correlation = causation fallacy.

 

just because ishtar (and astarte, asher, etc.) were also part of a long tradition of goddess worship with traceable linguistic roots means that 'easter = ishtar', just that easter was derived from a tradition, a european one, of course (oestre) which arguably included ishtar as distant precursor.. way way back in time.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Sun Mar 31, 2013, 07:21 PM

11. Boioioioioioing


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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Sun Mar 31, 2013, 07:34 PM

12. The meme has the wrong goddess/ pagan holy day

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Sun Mar 31, 2013, 08:13 PM

14. Pagan calendaring: Christians celebrate Easter based on the first moon after equinox.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Sun Mar 31, 2013, 08:17 PM

16. Doesn't work for several European countries

Many use the same word for Easter and Passover since that is what Christians consider Easter to be. Now if you want to say that Passover was originally a pagan feast -well OK. It was originally a harvest feast coordinating with the barley harvest - Pentecost being the wheat harvest.

French-Passover/Easter Pâque/Pâques
Spanish-Passover/Easter Pascua?Pascua
Greek- Passover/Easter εβραϊκό Πάσχα/Πάσχα
Italian – Passover/Easter Pasqua ebraica /Pasqua
Dutch – Passover/Easter Pasen/Pasen
English – Passover/Easter Passover/Easter
German – Passover/Easter Passah/Ostern

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Sun Mar 31, 2013, 08:19 PM

17. Who the frig cares, it's the vernal equinox and time to plant.

 

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Response to xtraxritical (Reply #17)

Mon Apr 1, 2013, 01:25 AM

24. Thread win

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Response to WilliamPitt (Reply #24)

Mon Apr 1, 2013, 12:11 PM

28. Alright! I always feel like a "scored" when I get William Pitt's attention.

 

You are a most reasonable and well thought.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Sun Mar 31, 2013, 08:29 PM

18. In all of the Christian burials that I know of, all bodies are buried so that they will arise facing

the East as Christ will return in the Eastern Sky for the Rapture of His Church.

That means that the body's head is laid to rest on the western end of the grave. So when Mankind is raised from the dead, they will be caught up in the Heavens with Christ.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Sun Mar 31, 2013, 09:39 PM

20. Not only is Ishtar not Eostre, there's no known connection with bunnies, hares or eggs

A web page by someone who is an actual polytheist:

So what does Bede say about Eostre?

The first month, which the Latins call January, is Giuli; February is called Solmonath; March Hrethmonath; April, Eosturmonath

Eosturmonath has a name which is now translated 'Paschal month' and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month. Now they designate that Paschal season by her name, calling the joys of the new rite by the time-honoured name of the old observance.


That's it. Bede doesn't describe the goddess. He doesn't say anything about the feasts that were held for her. He certainly doesn't mention hares or eggs.
...
There are associations in English folklore between hares and the Christian festival of Easter. For example, in 17th century Southeastern England there is evidence of a custom of hunting a hare on Good Friday, and in 18th century Coleshill there was a manorial custom in which young men tried to catch a hare on Easter Monday. There is no reason to believe that such customs go back to pre-Christian times. The Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore bluntly states: "Nowadays, many writers claim that hares were sacred to the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre, but there is no shred of evidence for this."

http://www.manygods.org.uk/articles/essays/Eostre.shtml


They also point out the association of Easter with eggs is far wider than just in any area where 'Eostre' may have been a goddess. And they describe how they give a feast for Eostre - which they have made up themselves, because it seems right to them, and because there is no handed-down tradition for how to hold a festival for her at all.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Sun Mar 31, 2013, 11:37 PM

23. It's actually named after Eostre

The Norse Goddess of Spring, also named Ostara.

http://www.manygods.org.uk/articles/essays/Eostre.shtml

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Apr 1, 2013, 02:20 AM

25. Thanks for trying to keep pagan goddesses straight. Happiness from Equinox to Equinox!

And as for births -- we know you are on birth-watch in your family, so joy to you and your missus.

Hekate

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Apr 1, 2013, 03:12 AM

26. Well, whatever. It's still dogma of some sort.

I view dogma with, usually, a fond eye, I'm a deist.

So, are you a dad yet? I saw a mention on another thread. Either way

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Apr 1, 2013, 07:12 AM

27. I was unaware that Temple Harlots were required to serve.


Ishtar was the goddess of love, war and sex. These days, thanks to Herodotus, she is especially associated with sacred prostitution* (also known as temple prostitution), which, in the religions of the Ancient Near East, allegedly took on the form of every woman having to, at some point in her life, go to the temple of Ishtar and have sex with the first stranger who offered her money. Once a woman entered the temple of Ishtar for the purpose of sacred prostitution, she was not allowed to leave until she’d done the deed. I can’t imagine that sacred prostitution sex was ever very good sex, but hey, what do I know? Probably some people were pretty into it – I mean, if you can imagine it, someone’s made porn about it, right?



Although I fully understand to need to reduce the urge to kill by these means.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Apr 1, 2013, 04:25 PM

29. Yeah, I've always known her as Ostara or Oestra, not Ishtara

Though this is a fertility holiday with a little cruxifiction and resurrection on top. I have a dear friend at work who is both wonderful and Christian. A less than common findng, IMO, but I reflected with her my magical memories of sunrise ceremony in the Baptist church. I really have wonderful memories of the sun coming up just as the preacher told the age old story of resurrection.

That I am now a Wiccan, does not impact those memories at all. They were fucking awesome.

I'll miss you for the next few weeks. If I don't, then I'll kick your butt. You are on primary duty for all things child except feeding. The sleepless nights will end - in about 22 years and they will lesson greatly between the ages of 4 and about 14. And you have many of us who weren't smart enough to avoid the endless guilt hole, but with time and effort, you will look upon these years as truly the wonder years.

Of course, if you master the one hand typing method, youmay never skip a beat, at least until she's 4 months old. If she's up then, she's in misery from teething and you are screwed just like so many of us have been, and yet, here we are. And so you will be.

Mazel Tov!

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Apr 1, 2013, 06:16 PM

31. I'm pretty certain the pagan roots of Easter come from the old European Goddess Ostera

or Eostre. Astarte or Ishtar is the wrong continent. There is some very bad pagan 'scholarship' that lazily thinks that if something sounds similar it must have the same 'root'. I blame Barbara Walker for that nonsense.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%92ostre

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