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From Ishtar to Eostre

Reframing the Near Eastern Origins of an Anglo Saxon Goddess

BySteff V Scott

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On the 27th March 2013, The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (Official) posted a meme to their Facebook Group stating that the Anglo-Saxon Goddess Eostre, and the Christian festival of Easter, had their origins in the Goddess Ishtar-Astarte. This meme was met swiftly with fury and derision. Firstly by Christian Groups who were horrified that a Pagan Goddess of ‘death and resurrection’ was even suggested to be linked with their Saviour’s own ‘death and resurrection’ festival. Especially one whose name sounds exactly like ‘Easter’. But what happened next would set the stage for a decade to come. In a strange turn of events, the Germanic Neo-Pagan community took up the cause with a score to settle. For the next nine years they would dispute and debunk any and all links between Ishtar and Eostre. They would claim that “Ishtar-Astarte is a foreign Goddess of Middle Eastern descent” and that “she wasn’t venerated anywhere outside of that region!” However, therein lies the problem. A rigid academic investigation into the subject shows that Ishtar-Astarte’s worship was prevalent not only in the “Middle East” but down the Levantine Corridor, into Egypt and across Northern Africa, through ancient Greece and Rome, across Europe, up to Iberia, and even into the British Isles where she had at least SEVEN altars dedicated to her. From there, her worship spread to the Germanic sources. We have at least THREE Germanic Academic texts which categorically state that Eostre and Ostara was originally the Goddess Ishtar-Astarte. All of which predate Jacob Grimm’s ‘speculation’ on Eostre by quite some time. She was the Goddess who endured. From her first Temple in Mesopotamia c.3600 - 3200 BCE to her first Temples in Egypt c.1427 - 1400 BCE. From her first Temple in Cyprus c.1200 BCE to her first Temples in North Africa, Spain, and Portugal during the Phoenician Expansion Period c.900 BCE. From her first Temple in Rome around c.217 BCE to her first Altars in Britannia c.117 to 138 CE, and to the point where her worship finally died out around c.1900 CE in modern Turkey, only a few hundred years ago. The fact that the endurance of Ishtar-Astarte worship spans almost six millennia, and half the world over, should not be taken lightly. This was a Goddess elevated above all others during much of her history, and who went on to influence a great many other deities. No other Goddess in recorded history was venerated for so long and by so many.


Publication Date
Apr 8, 2022
Religion & Spirituality
All Rights Reserved - Standard Copyright License
By (author): Steff V Scott


Interior Color
Black & White
US Trade (6 x 9 in / 152 x 229 mm)

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