The Dawn

The Gates of Dawn, Herbert James Draper, 1900. Eos opens the gates of the east prior to riding her chariot through the sky.

The Greek Goddess of the Dawn, Eos (Roman Aurora), is thought to be an exceedingly ancient divinity, dating back to the early speakers of the Indo-European language which forms the root of  most of the languages now spoken in the Western world and in India.  Her earliest name has been reconstructed as Hausos, meaning to shine, and she was a chariot riding dawn goddess, daughter of the Sky God Dyeus. Dyeus became Zeus to the Greeks, though they identified Eos as being not his daughter, but a deity of the older generation of divinities they called the Titans.

Hausos’ worship spread with her people as they spread throughout Europe and India.  Traveling west from her original home (probably in Eastern Europe), she became the Germanic Goddess of the Spring, Eostre, who gave her name to our Easter (because the Germanic month roughly corresponding to our April was originally named for her). Traveling southward she became Ushas, dawn goddess of India.  Traveling southwest with the ancestors of the Greeks, she became Eos, remembered as the rosy fingered, saffron (yellow) robed Titan who opened the gates of the east (a direction which still bears her name) and rode forth in her chariot just before her brother, Helios, the sun, emerged to traverse the sky in his.

According to Greek myth, Eos was ever young and beautiful because she was renewed each morning and she liked to steal away young, handsome men to be her lovers.  She was the mother to all the stars and to the winds named for the four directions. The dawn goddess’ name forms the root of our word east, the direction in which the sun rises.  So tomorrow, should you rise in time, consider taking the opportunity to face east and when you feel the sun’s rays upon your face remember the divine daughter/mother who never ages and always returns, painting the world anew with her gentle light, giving us each a fresh start.

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4 Responses to The Dawn

  1. Pingback: Is the Moon female? « Queen of Heaven

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  4. Pingback: What’s in a Name? Defining Eostre as a Goddess | We Are Star Stuff

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