The Easter Egg – DIY natural dye, lore, Faberge

The Easter Egg

The legend of Ostara
The legend of Ostara, springtime Goddess

The holiday of Easter, known as Paschal in some regions, is celebrated across many many nations and peoples around the globe, especially if they are pre-dominantly affiliated in religious culture as Christian.  However, Easter Sunday as we know it now, has a pretty interesting background of traditions going back into the times of pagan Europe and even becoming such creative symbols as the exquisitely jeweled eggs of Russia’s House Faberge.  Let us take a look at this hallmark springtime festivity and check out some of its rich history.  At the end, we can all enjoy a hand at DIY non-toxic natural egg dye options for some creative, de-stressing fun no matter how old you are or how you’ll be celebrating the holiday!

Lore

Easter originally was a pagan European holiday that centered around a feast to the Germanic Goddess of Spring Eostre/Ostara around the Spring Equinox of March 21st.  A mother goddess of Northern Europe who was honored as the bringer of the dawn and of springtime, Ostara had a couple of stories about her regarding white rabbits and bird eggs (symbols that would come to represent the Easter feast).  One of the myths of Ostara features the bunny. As the story goes, Ostara, was late bringing spring one year. As her energy swooped across the land, she came upon a little bird whose wings had been frozen in the snow. Filled with compassion for him since he could no longer fly, she turned him into a snow hare and gave him the gift of incredible speed, to flee from the hunters.  Still partially a bird, the hare showed its gratitude to the goddess by laying eggs as gifts and painting them pretty colors.  The Goddess loved the gifts so much, she ordained that her feast would always feature this activity henceforth.

Such is as the saying goes…

So how did the Easter feast get turned into Easter Sunday?

In his 1835 Deutsche Mythologie, Jacob Grimm cites comparative evidence to reconstruct a potential continental Germanic goddess whose name would have been preserved in the Old High German name of Easter, *Ostara. Addressing skepticism towards goddesses mentioned by Bede, Grimm comments that “there is nothing improbable in them, nay the first of them is justified by clear traces in the vocabularies of Germanic tribes.” Specifically regarding Ēostre, Grimm continues that:

We Germans to this day call April ostermonat, and ôstarmânoth is found as early as Eginhart (temp. Car. Mag.). The great Christian festival, which usually falls in April or the end of March, bears in the oldest of OHG remains the name ôstarâ … it is mostly found in the plural, because two days … were kept at Easter. This Ostarâ, like the [Anglo-Saxon] Eástre, must in heathen religion have denoted a higher being, whose worship was so firmly rooted, that the Christian teachers tolerated the name, and applied it to one of their own grandest anniversaries.

Thus, as Christianity spread throughout all of Europe, Easter (originally a celebration of the renewal of life during springtime) became transformed into Easter Sunday (the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ) to help the new religion integrate with the natives of whom were the primary converts to such.

Inspiration

The beautiful painted eggs became a symbol widely recognized across not only Western Europe, but later on Eastern Europe, North America, South America, and beyond as a tradition that still holds weight to this day.  In fact, some artists took their inspiration from these eggs to scale their fame quite far.

The House of Fabergé (French pronunciation: fabɛʁʒe) (Russian: Дом Фаберже) is a jewelry firm founded in 1842 in St. Petersburg, Imperial Russia, by Gustav Faberge.  Using the accented name “Fabergé”, Gustav was followed by his son Peter Carl Fabergé, until the firm was nationalized by the Bolsheviks in 1918. The firm has been famous for designing elaborate jewel-encrusted Fabergé eggs for the Russian Tsars and a range of other high quality and intricate works.  Faberge is a brand you might recognize in a lot of places, especially if you see one of these delicate lavish pieces of art:

DIY all-natural Easter Egg dyes
DIY all-natural Easter Egg dyes

DIY all-natural dyes

Whether your Easter weekend will be filled with children, family and traditional Easter activities or drinking wine, donning bonnets, and making vegan chocolate rabbits in a friend’s apartment kitchen, I encourage you to take up with the season and make the brightest, most colorful Easter eggs you can dream up—without using artificial colors and potentially toxic dyes. These eggs can eventually be eaten, displayed (if drained), and just plain recycled at the end by burying the shells in your garden (makes for great plant fertilizer!).

You can keep things safe (and thrifty) by making your own natural dyes from things you probably already have in your kitchen.

For Orange, use yellow onions. mix 1 cup yellow onion skin (about 2 onions’ worth), 1 teaspoon vinegar, and 3 cups water in a pot. Boil for one half hour, cool to room temperature, strain out the onion skins, then soak hard-boiled eggs in the dye for one half hour.

For Red, use beets. Combine 2 cups of grated raw beets with one tablespoon vinegar and 2 cups of water. Boil for 15 minutes. Let water cool, then add eggs; the longer you soak, the deeper the red color will be.

For Yellow, use cumin or turmeric. Boil three tablespoons turmeric or cumin. Strain the ingredient (if necessary) and add one tablespoon vinegar to the dye. Allow the dye to cool a bit before (adding) the eggs.

For Lavender, use Hibiscus tea bags.

For Blue, use purple or red cabbage.  Dice ¼ head of cabbage and add to 4 cups boiling water. Stir in 2 tablespoons vinegar. Let cool to room temperature and strain before adding eggs.

For Green, use parsley and/or spinach. 

Want to make intricate designs easily on these eggs?  Check this video out.

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I hope you had fun learning!

For those who don’t want to go the DIY route but still want to keep things natural, check out these natural dye kits on Eupterra Foundation’s article page.

For more on all-natural DIY, visit Eupterra’s homepage.

Be sure to subscribe to our seasonal newsletter for more tips and tricks, and tell us what you think!

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Deity of the Day for May 17th is Eos, The Dawn Goddess

Deity of the Day

Eos

The Dawn Goddess

 

Areas of Influence: Eos, Goddess of the dawn in ancient Greece was one of the Titans.

Every morning she awoke and used her rosy fingers to open the gates of heaven. This enabled her brother Helios (the sun God) to ride his chariot across the sky. She also brought forth the hope of a new day.

The dew was said to be her tears.

This female deity is most noted for her insatiable appetite for young men. Her desire is said to have been the result of a curse, placed upon her by Aphrodite, when she discovered her affair with Ares. She also kidnapped four lovers: Cephalus, Clitus, Ganymede and Tithonus. The later was a Trojan prince whom she begged Zeus to grant immortality. What she forgot to ask for was eternal youth. Eventually he shriveled up with old age and she turned him into a grasshopper.

Her love for Orion was unrequited.

Origins and Genealogy: She was daughter of the Titans Theia and Hyperion. She had two close siblings Helios (the sun) and Selene (the moon).

With Aeolus the keeper of the winds, she bore four sons these became the winds of the cardinal directions.

Strengths: Passion.

Weaknesses: Insatiable desire.

Roman Equivalent: Aurora.

 Symbolism

Depicted in art with rosy fingers, wearing a saffron robe and a tiara or diadem.

In pictures of Eos she is usually shown winged or riding a winged golden chariot. Follow this link and discover a variety of artist representations of the Goddess including a winged almost angelic looking one by artist Evelyn De Morgan.

Sacred Plant: Saffron.

Roman Equivalent: Aurora.

Goddess Archetype

The Femme Fatale:

This Archetype represents the seductress or enchantress who manipulates men for sex, status or money. The complete lack of emotional envolvement with their victim, results in the symbolic killing or getting rid of her lover when he has served his purpose.

On the more positive side rejection by the male can result in the opening her heart.

Eos fits this Archetype with her relentless pursuit of young men. She displayed these tendencies even before Aphrodite’s curse. This pattern of behaviour appears to be a family trait as her sister Selene also has numerous lovers.

 

How To Work With This Archetype

The Femme Fatale:

The Femme Fatale reminds you to be honest and look at why you are staying in a relationship? Is it the money, the house and status etc or are you emotionally connected to your lover.

If on the other hand you are looking for a new partner ask yourself how importantly you rank his earnings potential and status in your list of desirable qualities.

 

Source

Goddess-guide.com

About the Goddess of the Month, Hera

Love and Light
About the Goddess of the Month, Hera

Hera is the queen of the gods. She is usually plotting either to favor the Greeks over the Trojans, as in Homer’s Iliad, or against one of the females who has caught the roving eye of her philandering husband, Zeus. At other times, Hera is shown plotting mischief against Heracles.

Occupation:
Goddess

Family of Origin:
The Greek goddess Hera is one of the daughters of Cronus and Rhea. She is the sister and wife of the king of the gods, Zeus.

Roman Equivalent:
The Greek goddess Hera was known as the goddess Juno by the Romans. It is Juno who torments Aeneas on his trip from Troy to Italy to found the Roman race. Of course, this is the same goddess who so vehemently opposed the Trojans in the stories about the Trojan War, so she would try to put obstacles in the path of a Trojan prince who escaped the destruction of her hated city..

In Rome, Juno was part of the Capitoline triad, along with her husband and Minerva. As part of the triad, she is Juno Capitolina. The Romans also worshiped a Juno Lucina, Juno Moneta, Juno Sospita, and Juno Caprotina, among other epithets.

Attributes of Hera:
Peacock, cow, crow and pomegranate for fertility. She is described as cow-eyed.

Powers of Hera:
Hera is the queen of the gods and the wife of Zeus. She is the goddess of marriage and is one of the childbirth goddesses. She created the Milky Way when she was lactating.

Sources on Hera:
Ancient sources for Hera include: Apollodorus, Cicero, Euripides, Hesiod, Homer, Hyginus, and Nonnius.

Children of Hera:
Hera was the mother of Hephaestus. Sometimes she is credited with giving birth to him without the input of a male as a response to Zeus’ giving birth to Athena from his head. Hera was not pleased with the clubfoot of her son. Either she or her husband threw Hephaestus from Olympus. He fell to earth where he was tended by Thetis, the mother of Achilles, for which reason he created Achilles’ great shield.

Hera was also the mother, with Zeus, of Ares and Hebe, the cupbearer of the gods who marries Heracles.

Author

N.S. Gill, Ancient/Classical History Expert
Article published on & owned by About.com