Saturday, March 14, 2009

The First Egg Hunt

At our annual Spiralscouts Spring Equinox Ritual and Gathering, I read a story found by friend Karen Rainsong of Rainsong Design.

The first Ostara egg hunt!

Once upon a time, long long ago, there lived an ancient Teutonic race of people who celebrated spring equinox (March 20) and the coming of the new year during the last week's of Esturmonath (Ostara's Month) named for Eostra, their Goddess of the Dawn.

Ostara, whose name meant the East or dawn's light, came to entertain the children today before the spring equinoxes celebrations, because the parents were busy cleaning, cooking, and decorating up a storm for the coming of New Year celebration.

For it was common knowledge everywhere in the world at that time, that the new year begins with the coming of spring, and not in the middle of winter as is commonly celebrated today.

Every year at this time, Ostara and her magical shape-shifting bird, Ostro would keep the children distracted with fun new games, Lucky Scavenger's Hunt, and merry songs and dance to pleasantly tire them out.

The tradition had developed that each year, each child would receive a special, magically decorated egg from Ostro. The children spent the afternoon before spring equinox day weaving and then decorating a little basket for Ostro to lay their egg in.

But trouble was afoot this spring equinox eve, the children would not settle down to their basket weaving tasks, and could not be entertained with either song or dance. Ostara tried everything, including telling them a new tale she had prepared for the children for tomorrow. At her wit's end, she consulted with Ostro, who agreed that some emergency shape shifting magic was in order!

Ostro's body began to change in front of the children's very eyes... her brilliant blue feathers began to turn into the softest fluffiest fur you can imagine. Her sharp little black beak shortened into a cute pink nose, and she was growing soft floppy ears out of the side of her head, where none had been before!

Suddenly, Ostara had at their rapt attention. They gasped in shock as Ostro's tail feathers fell off and transformed into a round, puffy tail. By the time she was finished changing, no one could recognize her as a bird. She had completely shape-shifted into a brand new creature. Ostara immediately nicknamed her Peirs Cottontail, and a new tradition was born!

The children delighted while chasing the bunny here and there all afternoon, and the adults were very grateful that they could get all the party preparations completed in time.

Ostara thought this was the perfect ending to a lovely afternoon, until the children came to report to her that Peirs the rabbit was missing! They looked high and low for her, but to no avail. She was probably just resting in her burrow from all the day's activities, but now Ostara wondered, how were the magical eggs going to be delivered in time for tomorrow morning?

The morning dawned beautifully, but when the children came out of their houses, their little Ostara baskets were empty. Where were the eggs? Ostara gathered the children together, and explained a brand new game. Since the bunny did not have proper claws to grasp the eggs, when she had tried to bring them from her nest, she accidentally "lost" one! It had rolled down a hill, and nestled into a colorful flower patch. The next egg she tried to deliver to a basket had rolled into a gopher hole and was half hidden.

This had given Peirs an idea, and she quickly dashed about, hiding in the eggs in the garden surrounding the village. The children immediately grasped the idea and went scampering about hunting for their very own Ostara Egg!

No comments: