What's in a name?

When we chose our name we wanted something that wasn't necessarily of any culture so that it could be of all cultures.  And we wanted positive associations.

So "Astræa" appealed because it seemed ancient and a sound that could be associated with any culture from north, south, east or west.  And the qualities associated with the name, including cosmic equity, strength, nurturing and justice made it attractive.

It can be spelled in various ways.  We chose a difficult one using the funny æ (ligature ae) for distinction.

Astræa is an ancient name. Graeco-Roman classical lore tells of giants that roamed the earth before humans. These were expelled by deities including Astræa, who was the Greek goddess of justice, innocence and purity. According to the Greeks, Astræa left Earth and became the constellation Virgo the Virgin. Astræa’s mother is Themis.

Then, in 16th century England, a group of poets and politicians used Astræa in reference to their "blessed lifestyle".

Wikipedia is a great reference.

And here are some archived notes we had:

Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary

Astræa (Greek) [from astr star] Star maiden; daughter of Astraeus and Eos, or of Zeus and Themis. Themis, born of Uranus and Gaia (heaven and earth), signifies law, order, equity, as does her daughter Astræa, who lived among men in the Golden Age as the goddess of justice. But when wickedness prevailed in the bronze age, she was the last of the gods to withdraw, with her sister Aidos (modesty), and is found among the stars of Virgo. Another myth says that Zeus, when he carried off Ganymedes, the personified object of lust, threw Astræa back on earth again, where she fell on her head. Ganymedes is Aquarius, and the astronomical meaning refers to an inversion of the poles, which brings Aquarius into the northern celestial hemisphere and places Virgo upside down in the southern half (SD 2:785).

The return of Astræa also means the return of the Golden Age (the beginning of a new root-race). Astræa, in another sense, is Venus-Lucifer, and Zeus the personification of the cyclic law which arrests the downward course of root-races.

Copyright © 1999 by Theosophical University Press. All rights reserved.

The Creation of the Gods

- from somewhere on the Web (Sorry, we lost the reference!)

In the Beginning there was formless Chaos. In time, from chaos emerge Gaea, or Earth. Without knowing the touch of man, she gave birth to Uranus, who was the starry sky, who covered her on every side. Upon her he fathered the Titans, the first race of Gods. The Titans were the primal forces, the anthropomorphic forms given to natural phenomena. Metis was wisdom, Helios was the sun and Selene the moon. This is quite a change from the later Gods and Myths, where gods rule over many areas and are almost more mortal than not.

Uranus, also fathered a race of hundred-armed, fifty-headed monsters, and he feared and hated them so much that he would not permit them to emerge from their mother. He trapped them within Gaea, in the deepest pits of the earth and would not let them free. Gaea was enraged by this treatment of her children, and began conspiring against Uranus.

She went to Cronus, strongest of the Titans, and gave him a sickle made from hardest flint, magical and unbreakable. Cronus took the sickle and when Uranos came to lie with Gaea, Cronus cut off his father's members and flung them into the sea. With Uranos gone, Cronos made himself king of the Gods. He took his sister Rhea to be his wife and Queen and fathered five children on her. But he had learned from his parents that he would in his turn be overthrown by his own son, so as each of his children was born, he took them from Rhea’s arms and swallowed them whole. Rhea wept and cried out, but was unable to prevent it.

And so when Rhea was pregnant with her sixth child, she could no longer stand her husband's cruelty. She went to Gaea and Uranos, and asked for a way to save her child, and be revenged on Cronus. So Gaea spirited Rhea away to Crete, where she gave birth to Zeus in peace. When the baby was born, Rhea left him to be raised by Gaea on Crete, and returned to Cronos.

Cronos demanded to see the baby, but Rhea was ready for him. She gave him a rock wrapped in swaddling cloths, and he swallowed it, none the wiser.

When Zeus was grown, he went to his father and, with Gaea's help forced Cronos to vomit up his siblings. Together they joined against the Titans, and raised themselves as Gods. Zeus was delcared the king of the Gods,

Zeus and his brothers drew lots for which kingdom each of them would rule. Hades drew the underworld, and the Land of the dead, Poseidon drew the sea and Zeus drew the sky and Olympus, home of the Gods. He took his sister Hera to be his queen and set about ruling the Gods.