Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ishtar. Spring. Ducks.



I know I am a bit late with this... but I had one of those Eureka moments when I realized that Ishtar, the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility, love, sex and war gave rise to words like Oestre, Estrus, Estara, and, yes, Easter. Suddenly, it all made sense. I had read about this goddess, and her cultural equivalents Astarte, Isis and Cybeles to name just a few that spring to mind, but I had never made this (now obvious) relationship. No wonder we look for eggs and bunnies on Easter. I feel like the kids in South Park when they go around trying to unveil the relationship between Jesus and the bunny. I really, truly hope this will all mean renewal, life, birth and hope as translated in our lives. At least Spring seems to finally have arrived (I don't want to say settled, because, who am I kidding?) in Northern Europe. We have had two straight days of sunshine and blue skies.


16 comments:

  1. Bueno yo me uno, tampoco lo había pensado :S Suena bien como nombre, por cierto.

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    1. Si el nombre es lindo :) La verdad es complicado, pero el cristianismo ha sido notorio por "apropiarse" (Cristianizar) toda clase de ritos... para poder controlar a las masas. Véase la virgen de Guadalupe-Coatlicue, pero hay muchos ejemplos más.

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  2. I hope that too Amanda, for you and me both! This past weekend I tried to channel all that renewal and growth stuff, and embrace the symbolism of the eggs which we deocrated. We also decorated an Easter tree! Enjoy the sunshine my dear.

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    1. Enjoy the sunshine too :) And wishing and hoping for you!

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  3. I'm excited for you! I hope Spring weather sticks around. Mother nature is totally messing with us on this side of the world. It was an INCREDIBLE Spring day Monday until around 3 or 4 when out of nowhere the temperature dropped like 20 degrees and it started raining! It's been cold since then =/

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    1. Oh I really hope the weather does get better. If it is any consolation over here it changes a lot too.
      Take care !

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  4. The Ishtar/Easter meme has been running around my facebook all month and one thing I can't help but think of is how odd the connection is. I mean sure lots of holidays were appropriated by early Christians and such ... but Easter has had the name for a lot of years and the Easter Bunny and eggs and chicks iconography were a relatively recent phenomenon. So while the connections make absolute sense when looking at the symbols and the language roots on the other I feel like there's a gap missing here that I can't quite bridge. (And usually I'm all over saying "look at this, it was actually an ancient pagan holiday").

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    1. Well, I know that many, many Christian traditions all have somehow a root in pagan traditions. In this specific case I know it was Constantine who decided to Christianize the holiday. I know also that there is a link with the Jewish Passover (of which I don't really know a lot). But I did read a book, regarding the Virgin Mary, actually explaining how the word Virgin was wrongly translated / interpreted around the 3rd century to make it mean what it does know (pure, conception with no sex), whereas the word in the original biblical languages could simply mean "young girl" or how actually "Mary" meant "priestess of the temple" ( Mary Magdalen, Mary of Bethany and several other Mary's supposedly were priestesses as well). Apparently a lot of these (Babylonian, Egyptian, Assyrian) rites had filtered through and people were venerating fertility / earth gods even if it was strongly opposed to by the religious authorities, they could not help it, people refused to stop (hence the story of the Golden veal and all of that).0000000000
      I know several examples of Mexico concretely where you have an indigenous tradition that was later Christianized... so I do think it was a matter of "if you can't beat them join them", because the masses were still going to perform these traditions anyway. It is true though that the Easter bunny and eggs are more of a Germanic / Nordic / maybe saxon? tradition, all of which celebrated spring. If you compare with the Persian new year (Nowruz) you will also see similarities (though this festivity comes just before the Spring equinox). They use symbols such as hyacinth, wheat, coins, candles, mirrors, rosewater, a goldfish and *decorated eggs* (which symbolize fertility). If you think that Babylon / Assyria used to be where Irak / Iran lay now... I do see the sense (though how it all traveled to Europe and how it was adapted at each step would be interesting to study). I wonder if this is covered in Jung's archetypes / "The man and his symbols". Whether or not these traditions are connected I have always found these similaritis fascinating... like the word Teo Meaning god in latin, nahuatl and I think also an Asian language.

      Oh I found more information here, but it is apparently not clear, though there seems to be a link.

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  5. patitos!, son tan alegres. Qué bueno que al fin salió el sol allí. Aquí está sucediendo lo opuesto, comienza el otoño y van 2 días de lluvia sin parar; lo bueno es que justo estos días tuve que pasarlos haciendo un trabajo, así que con el cielo así no me siento mal por estar encerrada en lugar de recorrer la ciudad. Tiene sentido lo de los huevos de Pascua, yo nunca lo entendi ni me enteré bien de la tradición del conejo hasta que conocí a Matt, creo que sí es una tradición muy sajona. Espero que el conejo te haya dejado muchos chocolates este año (yo ya devoré todos los que me trajo).

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    1. Creo que quedan 2 huevitos de chocolate... que serán devorados próximamente. El sol va saliendo poco a poco, ayer fue un típico día gris y frio pero parece que hoy va a hacer calor. Espero qe por allá el otoño -invierno no sea demasiado duro !

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  6. Ooh I had never heard about this. Very interesting. You are quite the fountain of knowledge. Also hope that the symbolic event of spring brings you good things this year.

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    1. Hehe, I am not sure I am a fountain of knowledge but I do like to look for stuff! And understand the whys and the hows and the history. And I love words.

      Hoping too! Thanks!

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  7. I think this is an incredibly potent time of year and I am so so hoping for good things to be heading your way.

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    1. Thanks so much :) It means a lot!

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  8. This is really interesting, I had never heard about it either! Although I must say that here in Mexico we have had an eternal spring this year (although it is quite warm this week!).

    Wishing you all the best for the season! xx

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    1. Oh you are making me jealous now... eternal Spring in Mexico, warmth and sunshine are so precious (and we tend to take them for granted when we're over there !!!).

      Thanks so much!

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