Feel free to use or adapt this lesson plan with attribution. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
What is something good that happened this week?
What is something that you worried about?
Adapted from The Ostara Bunny by Rev. Christina Leone
Once upon a time, a long, long time ago… There was a Goddess. Her name was Ostara, or Eostre. Do you have any ideas what she might have been the Goddess of? What about words that are kind of similar to her name? (Easter)
She was the Goddess of springtime. What happens in springtime? (Flowers bloom, it gets warmer, new things are born, the world ‘wakes up’ from winter.)
This Goddess gave birth to the sun, and helped it shine brighter every day in the sky. She was the bringer of warmth, and color. Her festival day is the Spring Equinox (which happened this past Thursday,) and celebrates new life and springtime.
And one day, while she was going about her very important business, a little girl came to her. The little girl had found a small bird on the ground. The ground was still very cold, because spring was not quite there… Ostara hadn’t finished her work yet. The little bird was injured, and very cold… The little bird was dying.
“Please!” the little girl pleaded with the goddess Ostara. “Please save this little bird.” The goddess was annoyed. “Can’t you see that I’m busy here?” But the girl was persistent. “Please, it won’t take much. Just help bring the bird back to life!”
The Goddess was so moved by the little girl’s pleas that she agreed to help the bird However, the bird was too weak and broken to be fully fixed. The Goddess knew that something would have to change for the bird to survive. She carefully considered what to do, and decided to turn the bird into a different animal instead.
What kind of animal do you think she decided on?
What kind of animal would you choose?
Well, in this story, she decided to turn the bird into a rabbit. She was stronger than ever, and could hop a long way, and had a big fluffy coat that could keep her warm, instead of light little feathers like before. So, happily, the bird-bunny hopped away.
But because the bunny used to be a bird, there was something a little different about her. She had big, floppy ears like a bunny and hopped like a bunny, but she still laid eggs like a bird. And every springtime, the bunny remembers how the Goddess helped her. So, to say thank you, she lays colorful, beautiful eggs to honor the colors of springtime that Ostara brings. It brings those eggs to the children to honor the child who saved her life.
So, I have a couple things for you to think about.
First of all, just like any story from any religion, we don’t know if the Ostara story really happened, or if it happened this way, right? But what do we know about stories like this?
We do know they probably come from something that has some truth to it. It might be just a tiny little nugget of truth, but there’s probably something in that story that was inspired by something that really happened.
What do you think might be a nugget of truth here?
I think the part of the story I want to focus on is where the little girl asked the Goddess for help and convinced her to do something about the bird that was hurt, because someone asking someone else for help seems pretty realistic to me.
So, here’s my big question: how can we make this story relevant to right now?
So, what’s going on in the world right now?
Coronavirus, social distancing, etc.
Right! So, you all are the kids in this story. The little girl in the story made a big difference, right? If she didn’t ask the Goddess to help, the little bird probably wouldn’t have healed, and then we wouldn’t have the colorful eggs and other celebrations that the bird inspired after they were turned into a rabbit, right?
And before this happened, nobody had even heard of an Ostara bunny that laid brightly colored eggs! So, maybe right now, while we’re all being great helpers and keeping each other safe by staying home and washing our hands, we’re also doing something really big and important, like bringing spring or creating something new and awesome.
Maybe we’re all making way for something like a bunny that brings bright eggs, without even realizing it? I think that’s the truth in this story – that we can create something amazing, even when things are unsure or kind of scary, like finding a sick little bird.
ACTIVITY – SHOW AND TELL
So, the Goddess Eostre turned the bird into a bunny, so we’re going to turn into birds and bunnies, too.
Can you hop like a bunny? Or if hopping isn’t possible for you, can you twitch your nose and give yourself bunny ears?
I want you to hop around wherever you are – carefully!- and find something that makes you feel brave or safe to share with the group. It can be a blanket or a pet or anything you’d like. I’m going to go get mine too, and we’ll all meet back here in just a minute.
Show and tell.
Awesome! Now, fly like a bird to put your special thing back where it goes, and when you get back we’ll do our chalice extinguishing.