3/19/11

Goddess of the Week: Eostre and Pachamama

"Ostara" (1901) by Johannes Gehrts. ...Image via WikipediaChristina is looking for a death/rebirth goddess to help her honor her mother, who recently passed away. First of all, Christina: Good thoughts. I'm sending them all your way. I'm also sending you two goddesses. You asked about Eostre, so let's give you her, but let's also do a little Pachamama.

Eostre is English, by way of Germany. If her name sounds familiar it's because it's where the word Easter comes from. Bunnies? Totally her. She used to be driven around by giant hares. Eggs? That's her too. She is a goddess of springtime and, therefore, a symbol of the natural rhythms of death and rebirth. If your instincts say go with her, trust them.

Add to this Pachamama. Pachamama is an Andean goddess, sort of like mother earth but less commercial. She is still worshipped by indigenous people in Chile and Argentina, who always offer her the first drop of chicha--a kind of grain alcohol--whenever it's served. Although not a death/re-birth goddess, Pachamama is a symbol of motherhood and caregiving. Your mama cared for you, and probably many others. Now it's Pachamama's turn to take care of your mama.

Both of these goddesses remind us that the earth gives us life, and, in the end, it gives us a place to rest. Nothing stays the same. Everything changes. But the earth abides forever. And it seems to me, that that's a good place to start as you think about how to honor your mother. Speaking of which, what do you have in mind? A kind of ceremony? If you're open to suggestions, I'm thinking outdoors, but someplace a little untamed. I'm thinking symbols of rebirth. To me, that means dafodils (sunny, warm, and always determined to sprout out of the ground before spring even starts)! I'm thinking beautiful springtime foods and wine. (Be sure to feed Pachamama first.) What about you guys? Do you you have any ideas for Christina? And what about you, Christina? How do you envision what you're planning? We'd really love to know so that we can send you good thoughts and good energy when it happens.

Channel these goddesses: In times of grief and loss, when you want to re-connect with the earth or welcome spring and new beginnings.

Need a goddess: I got goddesses! Post a comment explaining what you need/want a goddess for. Then check back in a week or two and see what I found you.
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20 comments:

Jean Spitzer said...

Beautiful thoughts.

My sympathy, Christina.

Deb @ PaperTurtle said...

First, my deepest sympathies to Christina. My mom is battling cancer right now, and it's been a rude awakening to be faced with losing my mother so I really feel for you, Christina. :o(

As for celebrating and honoring her life, I love the idea of daffodils and wine and food. Well done on the goddesses, Margaret!

And PS: Thanks so much for your comments on my blog. You crack me up. :o)

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Condolences Christina

Select five qualities that you connect to your mother and assign each one a color. Example: loyal = blue. Next, take those colors and purchase them in glass beads. String "said" beads and place them in a window (one that catches light and you look through often). I have my remembrance beads in a chandelier. It does comfort.

... daisy... said...

Tonight is an Eostre celebrating night! :-) Happy first day of Spring dear Margaret!!!

... daisy... said...

My dad had a surgery today (they don't know if it's cancer yet). It went well, but I can really understand Christina's pain... I am with her in my thoughts.

Margaret said...

PA: That's a beautiful idea. Perfect, really.

Deb and Daisy: Sigh. Hard, hard, hard. Sending you a little Eostre. Here's to spring.

Word in the Hand said...

my mother is also fighting cancer we have just got the Macmillan (cancer specialists) nurses involved. If there is any hope, it is that the presence of her mum, my 'nan' has been a constant in my life since she died 15 years ago. I am not expecting any less. The rebirth may be in another realm but I believe it will happen when the time comes; to celebrate life - live.
'Eternal rest', Christina's mama. m+x

Joanne said...

My sympathy to you, Christina, too. I hope you feel your mother each Spring, in gentle touches of warm breezes, in soft whisperings of wildflowers, in the hush of a soft rain.

Susan Campisi said...

My deepest sympathies, Christina. May you find peace and grace.

Olga said...

My sympathies to Christina. I hope that the godesses, celebrating and remembering her life all bring some peace.

TheChieftess said...

Some lovely thoughts Margaret et al...condolences to you Christina...

After our Daisy girl passed last week, I brought home a lovely bouquet of tulips...Eostre is my choice...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMdhEtU7HRk

Margaret said...

Chieftess: That's my daughter's favorite song.

TheChieftess said...

It's always been one of my favorites too...I think I even tried to sing it way back when...when I played at playing the guitar...probably at your daughter's age!!

altadenahiker said...

Good choice in goddess and song. Good wishes to you, Christina.

Star said...

First off, my deepest sympathies for Christina from the bottom of my heart.
You kindly asked about suggestions for how to commemorate all sorts of life's happenings. Mine is very biased, I'll say that right up front. I work in a museum, and--already museums are the recipients of too little attention (and funding)--these days, it's harder and harder.
In this case, Christine could think of something that meant a lot to her mom, and I'll bet that she'd find something related that could be funded at a small, or large, local museum: a restoration (sometimes it's not horrifyingly expensive), underwriting expenses for a cultural activity (concerts...those programs need someone to pay for them, if there's a piano, someone needs to pay for the rental and transport, etc.; kids' activities need all sorts of supplies; exhibits always need someone to help pay for the catalogue, and so on and so forth).
Negotiate the way the person, or event--such as a 25th, or 50th, or 75th wedding anniversary--will be remembered in a permanent way. For example, if a work is restored thanks to a donation, then that information becomes part of the label, visible by everyone. I could go on and on. Be creative. Your local museum will really appreciate your help in keeping culture alive: it's what helps us know who we were, who we are, and who we want to be, in other words, it helps form good citizens, even if the good effects are not always immediately visible.
Thanks for listening!

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Oh, my thoughts go out to Christina. This was a beautiful post and these goddesses are just perfect, lovely and appropriate. I am particularly attached to the first one for some reason. . . just some sort of gut reaction.

Margaret said...

Star: That is a lovely idea.

Daisy said...

Christina, I'm so very sorry to hear of your mother's death, and Deb, of your mother's illness. I love these goddesses and their reminding us that Spring follows Winter and Life follows Death. I hope they, and our good wishes, bring you some comfort in this difficult time.

Petrea said...

It has always been this way, hasn't it? Life and death, the seasons turn, we see it in poetry, literature, history, the gods and goddesses. It's the great cycle of which we're a part.

Yet when it's our own loved one it is no such thing. It is real pain brought home. This is why we need ritual. This is why we need PA's colored beads. This is why we need each other.

Christina, my mother died on my birthday exactly seven years ago today. I hadn't thought of that until now. It's not that I don't think of my mother--she's always there, like it or not. But my birthday is just my birthday now, I have it back. I don't have a ritual for you but I have this promise: sooner or later the grief is gone and what remains is more gentle and kind.

JCK said...

I just love your Goddess posts. You bring so much fun and caring to all of us.