The Celestial Origin of Easter
Linguists have identified Eostre as a Germanic form of the reconstructed Indo-European goddess of the dawn, Hausos or Ausōs. The name Eostre then derives from the proto-Germanic word Austro and common Germanic goddess Austrōn and its root 'aues,' meaning 'to shine.' This, of course, is then the etymological root for the country Austria. As symbols of reproduction, putti (flying babies), hares, storks and eggs were often depicted with Eostre and Austron.
In the larger historical picture, Eostre is part of a long line of dawn goddesses including the Greek Eos, Roman Aurora and Indian Ushas who were derived from the cosmological symbolism of the Sun and Venus rising together from the eastern sea. The planet Venus was thus the East Star, or 'Easter,' of the sunrise.
Within this larger historical context, the Christian celebration of Easter can be seen as an adaptation of a much more ancient fertility rite celebrating the paired movement and conjunction of Venus with the Sun. The transit of Venus across the Sun is described in the Hindu Vedas as the Sun (Indra) swallowing Venus (Shukra), spitting her out as a 'bright' seed or semen.* The feminine deity Vena would then compel Shukra, who resided in her 'variegated womb,' to give birth where the Sun's 'membrane of light' touched the waters of the Earth. In this way, Vena was the Easter(n) goddess of the dawn -- resurrected every morning, reborn each Spring and inseminated twice a century in rare Venus Transits -- who once again brought new life to Earth.
* The abduction and imprisonment of the dawn goddess, and her liberation by a heroic god slaying the dragon who imprisons her, is a central myth of Indo-European religion and descends from Vedic cosmology and hallucinogenic Soma rituals apparently connected to the Venus Transit.