Saturday, April 19, 2014

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Festival In Honor Of Eostre/ Opet In Honor Of Taweret

Happy Eostre! April 20th is so many things this year, Easter to Christians, 4.20 to stoners, and a time to honor Eostre for pagans. Personally I do pretty much all that pertains to Eostre, I gave up the Christian overture long ago… I do celebrate 4.20 and since it falls on Easter this year it just seems serendipitous that April 20th is truly an awesome day. Also as most celebrate Eostre , let us remember that it is also a day to honor the Egyptian goddess Taweret.

First Eostre:

Ēostre is a Germanic divinity who, by way of the Germanic month bearing her name. She is the goddess of purity (the holy water), youth and beauty (the young maidens), as well as one of new life beginnings. Her true festival date is March 21st during the spring Equinox but since pagans where converted to Christianity by blending the heathen ways into the Catholic dogma, Eostre is also honored on Easter as well as on her true festival date.

Eostre first makes her appearance in literature about thirteen hundred years ago in the Venerable Bede's Temporum Ratione. Bede tells us that April is known as Eostremonth, and is named for a goddess that the Anglo-Saxons honored in the spring. He says:

"Eosturmonath has a name which is now translated "Paschal month", and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honor feasts were celebrated in that month.

Now for Taweret:

taweretIn Egyptian mythology, Taweret (also spelled Taurt, Tuat, Taouris, Tuart, Ta-weret, Tawaret, Twert, and Taueret, and in Greek, Θουέρις"Thouéris" and Toeris) is the protective ancient Egyptian goddess of childbirth and fertility. The name "Taweret" (Tȝ-wrt) means, "she who is great" or simply, "great one," a common pacificatory address to dangerous deities. The deity is typically depicted as a bipedal female hippopotamus with feline attributes, pendulous female human breasts, and the back of a Nile crocodile. She commonly bears the epithets "Lady of Heaven," "Mistress of the Horizon," "She Who Removes Water," "Mistress of Pure Water," and "Lady of the Birth House."

As a fertility goddess she was also associated with the innundation, particularly at Gebel el-Silsila. According to "The Book of the Dead", Taweret guarded the paths to the mountains of the west which led to the underworld and could also use magic to help the deceased pass safely through that dangerous and frightening land. She was associated with the so called "magic wand" or "magic knives" used during labour to ward off evil. These magical tools were usually made of hippopotamus ivory, and included depictions of the goddess.

Taweret’s festival is the Opet festival, ancient Egyptian festival of the second month of the lunar calendar. In the celebration of Opet, the god Amon, Mut, his consort, and Khons, their son, made a ritual journey from their shrines atKarnak to the temple of Luxor (called Ipet resyt in pharaonic Egyptian, hence the name of the festival). Scenes of the festival in the Colonnade of the Temple of Luxor carved during Tutankhamen’s reign (1333–23 bce) show priests carrying statues of Amon, Mut, and Khons in barks through the streets of ancient Thebes, thence onto river barges and on to Luxor. Following this appearance to the populace, the statues remained in the temple of Luxor for about 24 days, during which the city remained in festival. The images were returned by the same route to their shrines in Karnak in a second public appearance that closed the festival. A direct survival of the ancient cult is seen in the present-day feast of the Muslim holy man Sheikh Yūsuf al-Haggāg, whose boat is carried about Luxor amid popular celebration. His mosque stands in the northeastern corner of the first court of the temple of Luxor, over the foundations of a Byzantine church.

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