On Easter Sunday (not a holiday for me obviously) I get a lot of questions every year, questions like: 1. Why is Ostara not in the Eddas? 2. Why is the Church more like the Old English Easter than Asatru's "Ostara", dating Easter using the Full Moon, while Asatru's calendar ignores the moon entirely? 3. When did the Easter Bunny custom start, and is it rooted in Germanic Heathenry? But this year, I got two questions from two very learned individuals, in addition to the basic three questions that come through every year. One question came from a Swedish Heathen living in Sweden. He reads the works of Dr. Andreas Nordberg in Swedish. He is the first person who figured out that I disagree with Dr. Nordberg on one point: Disting included a Disablot. I do NOT believe that Disting was a Disablot, but it was an Althing that gave veneration to the Disir. Dr. Nordberg wrote a book on the dating of Yule, but in his book, he also covers the dating of Disting. Dr. Nordberg states: "också tiden för det gamla disablotet i Uppsala varit föremål för många diskussioner. Enligt Adam av Bremen ägde denna fest rum ”omkring vårdagjämningen”, medan Snorri istället säger att den gick av stapeln i månaden gói, som sträckte sig från mitten av februari till mitten av mars i den isländska kalendern under Snorris levnad." This is roughly translated into English as: "Also the time for the old Disabot in Uppsala has been the subject of many discussions. According to Adam of Bremen, this blot took place "around the equinox of spring", while Snorri instead says that it was held in the moon of Goa, which stretched from mid-February to mid-March in the Icelandic calendar during Snorri's lifetime." (Goa in Heathen times was around April, via the lunar cycle, before the later Christian Althing Romanized and Christianized their pre-Christian Heathen calendar). In a nutshell, this is what Nordberg is saying: 1. According to Adam of Bremen, Disting occurred near the Equinox (but not on it), and Sigrblot, the blot to start summer, would have been one full moon after Disting. 2. The Christian Iceland Althing changed the pre-christian Heathen calendar, moving the moons forward two moons. Therefore, Disting occurred in the moon of Goa during Snorri's lifetime (after the calendar was moved from its pre-christian Heathen position, in the 10th century, now Disting is in Goa when Snorri lived, and when the Icelandic calendar is today, February to March.) I totally believe Dr. Nordberg is correct on the dating of Disting. Dr. Nordberg states: "The pre-Christian Yule feast occurs at the first full moon after the first new moon following the winter solstice, while the disting took place at the third full moon according to the same method of calculation." Andreas Nordberg, Institutionen för etnologi, religionshistoria och genusstudier, Avdelningenreligionshistoria, Stockholms universitet, 106 91 Stockholm. © Andreas Nordberg och Kungl. Gustav Adolfs Akademien för svensk folkkultur 2006 Where I disagree with Nordberg is that Disting was a major blot, a "Disablot" as well as a "Disting." Here is why I believe the world's foremost scholar on the Dating of Scandinavian Holidays is wrong here. Please keep in mind, he has an advantage over me by doing his work full time AND living on location. But he has a disadvantage as he is not a Heathen and doesn't think like one. Here is what Nordberg missed as a non-Heathen: Ynglinga Saga chapter 8, states that there were only three major blots a year at Uppsala, and Disting is not one of them. The three are Winter Nights (the start of Winter), Yule (Mid-Winter) and Victory Blot or "Sigrblot" to start summer: Ynglinga Saga (chapter 8), from the year 1225: “Odin established the same law in his land that had been in force in Asaland… On winter day (first day of winter) there should be blot for a good year, and in the middle of winter for a good crop; and the third blot should be on summer day, a Victory-blot.” In a nutshell, the Ynglings were the Swedish Royal Dynasty, the Kings of Sweden. Why would Ynglinga Saga 8 not list Disting as a major blot if it were a major blot? The simple answer is, because Disting was an All-Thing and Disablot was Winter Nights, the blot to start winter. Nordberg reads the Eddas and Sagas as a scholar, but recon Old Ways Heathens read it as Heathens well versed in our sources spiritually, whereas scholars have no experience there. Viga-Glum's Saga chapter 6 is one of four passages in the Sagas that make it clear as day that Disablot accompanies Winter Nights: "At the start of winter a sumble was prepared, and a disablot in which observance all were expected to take part, but Glum sat in his place and did not attend it." Therefore, my conclusion here is simple: Disablot is Winter Nights, and Disting is an Althing, not a major blot, and therefore, there is no contradiction within Snorri's writings between Disting and Disablot. Please note, this confusion is in Asatru circles and it is also confused in American circles in particular. See all sorts of American websites quoting "Victory Blot" (which is Sigrblot, not Disting) as Disting itself. Look at Wikipedia's article on "Disting" and see it quoting "Victory blot" thinking that is Disting. Sigh... Sigrblot (or Sigurblot) is the start of Summer, per Ynglinga Saga chapter 8 and this passage: Heimskringla Olaf’s Saga Helga 77 “In Sweden there was an age-old custom whilst they were still heathen that there should be a blot in Uppsala during Goa moon. Then they would blot for peace and victory for their king. People from all over Sweden were to resort there.” Please note, here the saga is referring to Goa Moon around April, before the Icelandic Althing moved their moon names two moons forward. Blots for Victory are Sigurblots, period. Why did the Christian Althing change their calendar? The Christian world was using a fixed solar calendar, so they did the same, removing moons from their calendar entirely. They also moved the calendar moons two moons forward, so Yule moon would END before the Solstice and Before Christmas, to help stamp out Yule. This is why Yule Moon on the Icelandic calendar today starts in November (around the 15th) and ends December 15th to 17th. This is a little confusing, but so is forced Christianization...
Christian Easter, Wiccan Ostara, The Roman Matronae Cult's Eostre, and Eostre's possible relation to the Greco-Roman Eos / Astarte, and is the Sumerian Ishtar the beginning of Greco-Roman Astarte? I am not a linguist. I am fluent (obviously) in modern English, Old Saxon (at reading it), and I speak enough German to talk to my family and get around Germany. (Though most Germans speak English, and you do not need to know any German to get around Germany.) My point is though, as an Old Saxon (Aldsidu) Heathen, to quote Dr. Jackson Crawford, "I have no horse in this race." Dr. Crawford says that often in his videos to state he is not a Heathen, and therefore, as one who is more than a hobbyist in Norse Lore, Dr. Crawford is not a Heathen and stays out of Heathen and Asatru arguments. Well, as an Old Saxon Heathen, Eostre (or Ostar) is not in our hall of Gods, therefore I do not have a horse in that race. Eostre is not a Scandinavian Goddess, nor is she a Saxon Goddess. However, as Dr. Shaw so wonderfully proves in his book, Eostre originated in the Roman Matronae cult, and there are 150 to 200 different Austriahenae stones found to Eostre. The Romans took this Goddess from the Roman controlled Rhineland into Britannia. Eostre was venerated not just by the Romans, but by the Franks and the Brits (Celtic peoples) in England. I have two blog articles on this already (click "Blogs & Beliefs" above, and then scroll down to my Eostre articles.) Also, please note, Dr. Philip A. Shaw, has written the definitive book on Eostre, based on the archaeological evidence (the Eostre Stones), the linguistic evidence (and Dr. Shaw is a linguist), and the literary evidence, that prove Eostre was confined to the Frankish/Frisian Rhineland and Kent England. Dr. Alex G Garman has also written a book on the Matronae cult, and as you can see, both books have one of the Matronae Stones on their covers.
In the end, Ostara is the name of a Wiccan Sabbat, brought into Asatru by the founders of Asatru in the United States. Asatru in Iceland, older than American Asatru, DID NOT replace Sigurblot with "Ostara." This is an American "mistake." There are only two historical attestations of Eostre, by Bede in De Temporum Ratione in the year 725 AD, where Bede claims Eostre is a moon corresponding to April on the Old English Calendar, and a Paschal Goddess (Bede is full of sh*t there, as Eostre had nothing to do with Christianity, he was just trying to make his Anglish peoples less Heathen by claiming their Heathenry had some divine foreknowledge of Christ, which is ridiculous.) Einhard in Vita Karoli Magni Chapter 29, lists Ostarmanod (Ostar-moon) as the fourth moon of the year on the Frankish calendar. Einhard wrote circa 830 AD. Please remember, Eostre-stones are found only in the Rhineland (Frankia) and England, so the archaeological evidence ties with the literary evidence. Dr. Shaw also uses linguistic evidence to prove Eostre was confined to England and Frankia/Frisia. But what about the Proto-Indo-European studies? Ishtar was a Sumerian Goddess, probably the oldest Goddess ever attested. Sumeria existed around 6000 BC to 2000 BC. Ishtar was Sumerian, and also known as Inanna to the Sumerians. While I am not a linguist, some have tied the Greco-Roman Astarte to Ishtar, and then to "Easter." But this is dismissing Eostre as Germanic altogether. What I mean is, Dr. Shaw believes Eostre is related to the Germanic word "East." But if Eostre comes from Rome, why would Eostre come form a Germanic word at all? Would not Eostre come from the Greco-Roman word "Eos" meaning "erotic love?" And if you are going to tie Eostre to Astarte and Eos and Ishtar, you must ditch the Germanic word "east" and focus on the words "love" in Greco-Roman and PIE studies. Period. Again, I am not a linguist, and I have no horse in this race, but what I do know for sure is, Ostar or Eostre is NOT a Scandinavian Goddess, and she is not in the Eddas nor the Sagas nor the several hundred other Scandinavian sources. But if Eostre is Greco-Roman, comparing her to Eos and Astarte, Goddesses of Love, is a far better bet than comparing to the Germanic word "East." Please keep in mind, when one thinks of animal symbols in Scandinavian Heathenry, Ravens and Wolves immediately come to mind, and rabbits do not. I am not going to write in great detail on this, but I will get to the point: Easter Bunnies were born within Christianity itself, 800 years after the destruction of Germanic Heathenry. Eostre is not even a Germanic Heathen Goddess, and even relatively poor websites like Wikipedia get this correct. If people want to continue Xmas and Easter, Christian customs in their "Asatru" and just claim it is Pagan, they really have not tried to gather evidence to prove it is pagan, as there is zero evidence Easter is Heathen, but a later Christian invention. Jacob Grimm was the first in 1835, to come along and suggest Christian Easter had anything to do with Eostre.
And again, as I am not an expert in Sumerian Goddesses, I will post a link to what appears to me a very well researched website on Ishtar, one with the archaeological evidence of Isthar pictured on its pages, as well as references to the Gilgamesh Epic, the literary evidence. I have no horse in this race, and I am personally not concerned for my own Aldsidu practice if Ishtar and Astarte and Eos are related. But it appears to me, with my limited Old Saxon and modern English knowledge, that these words are probably linguistically tied. Instead of finding Easter with Eostre, the Greco-Roman and Sumerian connection appears at first glance to be a much stronger one. https://www.ancient.eu/ishtar/ Please visit my YouTube channel: Robert Sass Please visit us on the Facebook Group: Saxon Heathenry Please visit us on the Facebook Page: Germanic Heathenry