By I.M. Knosp & Wylder Homes Project
There once lived a great Chieftain who was blessed with the birth of a most beautiful daughter whom he named Easter of The Dawning Light who upon hearing of her birth the people across his land rejoiced! Wishing to know her future the Chieftain called upon Three Sisters of The Good Women The Crow, The Raven, and The Magpie, all of whom arrived without delay riding the winds as swiftly as their wings could carry them, who upon landing took the shape of three regal women in dark flowing cloaks with their dark feathers strewn about them; their faces shrouded behind large dark hoods. These seeresses upon hearing the fathers request consulted the Wyrd foretelling a vexing prophesy, warning that in time Easter would incur a great harm from not but a splinter of flax.
The Chieftain and his people hearing of this doom which would assuredly fall upon the most beloved daughter of The Chieftain promptly banned all flax, hemp, or any other material or tool for the making of cloth from their territory disposing of it thoroughly so their beautiful Easter should escape her providential doom.
One day as happens Easter had grown into a young and beautiful woman who gazing outside the grand roundhouse, she called home she beheld an old woman she had never before seen passing by spinning flax. Easter never having seen a distaff, nor a spindle was in awe of the spindle twirling like magic at the tips of the old woman’s’ frail old fingers and working up the courage she ran outside to ask the traveling crone to come inside and teach her to spin.
The Old Crone being kindly of nature and tired from walking joined young Easter in her round house and taking a seat began to patiently teach the girl the magic of the distaff and its spindle. Sitting patiently at the crones’ feet she absorbed in wonder all the old Woman had to teach in that moment, until all that was left was to practice on her own. Easter then carefully taking distaff in hand began twisting and spinning the flax as she had been shown carefully teasing it along the line, she had patiently formed but as was foretold by The Good Women of old a stray seed of flax was run under her nail and the girl fell down as though dead upon the floor. The Old Crone seeing what had happened became frightened for her life and quickly ran from the Grand Mound; some say she is running still to this very day.
When her father and people discovered what had happened a great keening went up and tears enough to flood the fields and forests were shed on that and following days. After the people had wept all their weeping’s and sang all of their mourning songs, they carefully placed Easter upon a throne of furs within the Mound as the final resting place of their beloved. Wishing to bury his heartbreak with his daughter and the desire that she not be disturbed the Chieftain with the strength of a bear quickly closed the mouth of their mound with a giant boulder shuttering it forever; or so they thought. The Great Chieftain and his people then left the place of their sorrow never to return.
In time a large briar of thorns came to completely cover the mound pushing aside the boulder covering its entrance ever so slightly as they grew. As so frequently happens time passed and stories with all of their grief as with places come to be forgot. It was at such a time of forgetting that quite by chance the god Wode happened to be out upon a Wild Hunt and was passing near the mound. When suddenly one of his falcons leapt from his hand and flying high into the air seemed to spot something below and dove disappearing into the briar of thorns and entered the mound by way of the ancient doorway now revealed behind the boulder which was now askew. Wode called for his falcon, but it did not come so he and his host in search of his bird companion eventually came to the mouth of the mound, where Wode a giant himself easily pushed the boulder effortlessly away from the opening. The great god Wode pushed through the mass of thorns that had grown over and inside of the burial mound tromping them into the ground with ease. Looking in chamber after chamber, in every nook and cranny he found not a living soul, death and sorrow seemed to permeate every stone.
That is, until he came to the chamber containing Easter still, as if in deep slumber reclined atop her throne of furs. Her whole being seemed to shimmer filling the room and Wode who beheld her was instantly enchanted by her beauty! With the eyes of a skilled hunter, he saw her shallow breath slow but steady and so he called to her, but she remained still and did not stir.
Unable to contain himself any further he cried aloud succumbing to her magical charm, feeling his blood course hotly through his entire being he lifted her in his arms carrying her to a nearby bed chamber, where he gathered the fruits of love and laid his seed within her after which she yet slumbered on. Full of sorrow for such a beauty not awakening to his touch he left her within the mound returning with The Wild Hunt to his realm; where being preoccupied with the many duties and responsibilities of his station and thinking no more of what had transpired within the mound of thorns.
Many months had passed since Wode had given it any thought when Easter gave birth to two beautiful shining children, her son radiating with light as though he were holding a piece of the sun, while her daughter glowed subtly as if kissed by the moon itself. During this time The Good Women returned hearing of the births to tend the newborns putting them to their mothers’ breasts so they might grow strong and beautiful upon her milk. Once, however while seeking her mothers’ nipple the daughter took Easters’ finger into her mouth and suckling upon it, she removed the shard of flax which had cursed her mother to such a long slumber and with that Easter finally awoke from her enchanted sleep.
Seeing before her the two shimmering babes, she held them to her breasts to suckle these dear babes becoming dearer to her heart than her own life. Their beauty shone to her as though they were the celestial spheres of the Sun and the Moon themselves and so she named them for the East where they each rise above the horizon. Her son she came to call Oster and her daughter Ostara.
With Easters waking the thorns covering her hall had all come to blossom into a bountiful array of flowers, her own body had even come to be covered in amber waves of grain and beautiful pearls of edelweiss which grew into a light flowing dress upon her sleeping form after giving birth but before she had awakened. Save the children and the many flowers Easter seemed to be good and truly alone and so she came to love her children all the more. The Good Women unseen continued in their care of the little family however often sending stags, bears, rabbits, and many other beasts of the wild to bring her food and drink so that she should not want for sustenance.
Meanwhile Wode finally having a moment to reflect recalled the woman he had seen in the mound and said that he wished once more to go on a Great Hunt where upon returning to the mound alone he was astonished to find the thorns had flowered to blossoms and berries. Entering the mound to his joy he soon found Easter awake as well holding two gleaming offspring. His joy knowing no bounds at his happy and unexpected discovery he then approached Easter telling her of who he was and all that had transpired.
Hearing this she quickly realized that he was the cause of her slumber being lifted and so forgave him any trespass forming a friendship woven together tighter than the bonds of family alone. Wode remained with her and his children for several days, after which he regretfully bade her farewell promising to return soon to take his new family with him to his own realm.
Now as it would be Wode happened to already be married to The Great Goddess Perchta and it wasn’t long before she began to suspect that something was amiss. Her husband had been absent far too long and far too often on his little hunts and he had also developed the habit of mumbling in his sleep constantly calling out strange names she had no acquaintance with. Slowly at first then quicker as her long sleepless nights of listening to him call out these unknown names began to add up, she began to be filled with the wrathful flame of hatred and jealousy! Eventually unable to take the torment anymore she finally sent for one of the many farmers who while loyal to her husband had been with him on many a hunt.
When her husbands’ man finally arrived, she bid him stand before her and purred into his ear so that none might know what secrets might transpire between the two “Listen to me my son, you are living between two stones, between the post and the door, between the poker and the grate. If you tell me with whom your master, my husband, is in love, I shall reward you with treasures untold. If on the other hand you conceal the truth from me, you will never be found, alive or dead” the man began to tremble in fear becoming understandably terrified in the face of such power and malice. Quickly composing himself as best he could and being possessed by a mixture of fear and greed the man became blinded to his loyalty to Wode, any ideas of honor or justice quickly fleeing his heart. So, he told her, he told her all she desired to know and more, he told The Great Goddess Perchta all that had transpired with Wode, he told her of the falcon, he told her of the chase, he told her of the mound and the thorns and the stone and of Easter and his Lords’ lust upon seeing her, he even told her of the two young children Oster and Ostara!
Perchta’s heart grew colder with each word the farmer spoke and upon learning how the matter now stood she sent the farmer as a messenger to Easter in the name of Wode. The message she sent asking Easter to send the children before her because so strong was Wode’s desire to see them. Easters’ heart leapt for joy upon hearing the message and being unaware of any deceit she did eagerly do as her lover bade. Once the children arrived at their new home however Perchta her heart filled with ice ordered the cook to kill the children, no not only kill them but then also to cook them into several sumptuous dishes for her wretched husband to consume himself!
But the cook being a good and tenderhearted man could not do as he was bidden. Especially since upon seeing the two shimmering golden apples of babes he felt great compassion and sympathy in his heart for them. Quickly he decided and risking everything dear to him for these children he secretly whisked them both home to his wife bidding her hide them disguised as a rabbit and a lamb.
In the meantime, he would slaughter a real rabbit and lamb then prepare their flesh into a hundred different morsal laden dishes for his Lord. When Wode came into the dining hall that evening Perchta with great pleasure had his personal banquet served before him.
Wode ate with great delight exclaiming “By the light of the stars, how delicious this is!” and “By the souls of the ancestors, this is good.”
Each time he spoke Perchta would reply “Eat my dear. Eat. You are eating of your own after all.”
For the first, second and third times Wode paid her no heed but upon seeing that her words continued, he grew very angry and roared “I know perfectly well that I am eating of my own! As you have brought nothing of your own into this house!” consumed with rage he stood leaving the table and went out into the countryside to contemplate in solitude and alleviate his temper.
During the time Wode was gone cooling his temper; Perchta, not yet satisfied in her revenge sent for the same farmer who had revealed to her Wode’s secrets then ordering him to bring Easter before her. She then instructed him to tell Easter that Wode longed for her company and was eagerly awaiting her arrival. Easter wasted no time departing for Wode’s realm upon hearing these words of desire in the belief that she was following the dictates of her beloved as she greatly longed to see both Wode and her children; little did she know what had been prepared for her arrival.
Upon Easter’s arrival to Wode’s realm she promptly found herself greeted by Perchta whose face glowed like shimmering frost from the hatred she felt towards her husband’s lover. Perchta full of wrath addressing her coldly voice dripping like ice from eaves of a house “Welcome Madam whore! You are a fine piece of wares you ill born weed who pleasures my husband! So, you are the lump of filth? The cruel bitch that caused my head to spin? Change your ways or the underworld shall welcome you where I shall repay you for all the injury you have inflicted upon me!”.
Easter hearing these words began to tremble with fear and cold, trying to excuse herself pleaded “None of what had transpired was my fault! Wode husband of Perchta had taken possession of me and my lands as I lay sleeping!” But Perchta would not listen to her excuses instead having a large pyre lit in the grove of her grand roundhouse and commanded Easter cast into it for her trespasses.
The Lady of the Dawn realizing that matters had gone from bad to worse, knelt before Perchta begging to be allowed to at least remove the garments she wore. Perchta, not out of pity but out of greed agreed to the request as she desired Easter’s dress of flowers and amber grain to be her own. Perchta then bade Easter to undress herself though she wailed as if in pain as she removed each bit of her garment screaming the loudest as the last of the garment was removed from her flesh. As if answering her cries, the land seemed to wither within the grove the grass grew yellow and wilted as the flowers and trees lost their colors. Finally naked and bare but for her golden hair Easter The Lady of the Dawn was dragged towards the pyre to be cast to the underworld as her body burnt to lye ash.
Wode suddenly appeared and upon witnessing this spectacle demanded answers to what had been happening in his absence. Seeing Easter, he immediately demanded his children be brought into his presence fearing for their lives as Perchta reproached him for all his shameful acts upon her. As he demanded his children brought forth, she responded with a cold harsh laugh recounting for him the tale of her having had his children slaughtered and served to him as succulent morsels, no less during the last meal he had eaten!
Wode hearing this immediately gave into despair falling to his knees and declaring “Alas! Then I myself am the wretch who ate my own poor sweet cubs! Alas! And why did my own veins know not the offspring of their own blood? You renegade Bitch! What horrid deed have you done? Begone! You shall get your payment beneath the roots of the trees! I shall not sully war with such a monster as you!”
With these words he commanded that Perchta be cast into the very fire she commanded be lit and with her the farmer as weaver of this tragic plot. Wode was about to do the same to the cook, whom he believed to have slaughtered, butchered, and roasted his sweet children.
The cook casting himself to the feet of his master exclaimed “In truth my lord for such a deed there should be nothing else then to writhe flaming in agony with no easement of pain than a spear piercing my back! And were it true I would seek no honor more than to see the ashes of my lowly self mixed with the great goddess Perchta’s to be spat upon and forgotten! But this is not the reward I expected as savior of your children! In spite of the sheer gall of that wicked woman who wanted to kill them and return them to the flesh of their sire you my lord did I hide them away from her!”.
Upon hearing these words Wode was beside himself, it was as if he himself were in a waking dream! He could not believe what his own ears perceived. Therefore, he turned to the prostrated cook and said, “If it is true; that you have saved my children, be sure that I will spare you from the spit and the flame. I will put you in the kitchen to cook and bake to your hearts content and promise to give to you such reward as you may call yourself a content and happy man for the rest of your days in this world.”.
After Wode had spoken thus, the cook’s wife seeing her husbands need brought forth the disguised children changing them back to their original shapes. Oster and Ostara were mightily embraced by their father who from then on never tired at playing the game of three with his new wife Easter and his two beautiful children. He showered them with love and affection, kissing each one in turn. The cook became a man of great status within the household and realm of Wode. Easter, Wode and their children experienced a grand and merry life from then on. While Perchta found another place for herself deep, deep in the underworld eventually finding her own joys.
But that is a story for another time……
- First I would like to thank Arca of the Blood Coven of Londor Artworks for his wonderful original artwork for this piece check him out on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/londor_artworks/
- It is important to note that as always this was our best estimate as to which gods fit which role, and the main attempt was to avoid changing as much as possible from the original story. Wode was the best fit, though other gods may fit the role, same with Perchta.
- We used multiple iterations of Sleeping Beauty, Briar Rose, and Sun Moon and Talia to remyth this story (the latter of which being the older version of the tale) Though in doing so the “Sun Symbolism” of the prince in the original Grimm’s tale was moved to Easter’s Son, there are many possible options for the variations on the myth, for more info check out our article on Easter Gods here:
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- You can also find two other Remythings Snow White and Bearskin on older posts follow these links:
Snow White Remythed