Netflix’s Equinox Ending Explained-Ostara, Ēostre, And The Hare King Come Together In This Supernatural Twister
Netflix’s latest import is the Danish series Equinox. It is a mysterious chiller that looks and feels like Dark but shares more spiritual space with The Wicker Man. Folk horror, when done right, can be some of the scariest, most interesting subgenres. While Equinox isn’t The Wicker Man, it is a cool supernatural mystery worth the short six episodes it takes to unravel this wild story.
Equinox is a story about secrets and ancient folklore. Both play a part in the tragedy that befalls the people and community. Twenty-one years ago, eighteen teens went missing, including Astrid’s(Danica Curcic) sister Ida. Three were found but were irrevocably damaged. All of the families were devastated, and the driver of their party bus lost his mind. Over the course of six episodes, we learn where the kids went, who took them, and how much everyone knew about the terrible events that led up to their disappearance.
Ida and Astrid’s parents have something to hide. It’s something they have been hiding from everyone since Ida was first conceived. Astrid’s father chooses to protect his remaining daughter from it by ignoring it and seeking medical treatment. We don’t know how long he has learned the truth, but we know at some point he became aware of the deal Lene made with Henrik. Lene wants to dive headlong into the nightmares that plague Astrid because she is convinced her younger daughter is a conduit to Ida. If she can point her in the right direction long enough, she thinks Astrid can pull Ida out of wherever she is imprisoned.
There is no other way to explain why Astrid and Ida’s mother chooses to have her troubled remaining daughter embrace her terribly vivid dreams. It isn’t about acceptance so much as reexamination. Astrid is a tool and nothing more. It is why her overprotective mother smothered Ida with affection and attention while Ida was often belittled and forgotten. Ida was promised to The Hare King, not Astrid, so their mother saw only a golden child destined to be taken from her and the “other” daughter. Astrid was a backup of sorts whose only importance to her mother was to replace Ida if necessary.
What are the six prophecies in the grimoire Jakob Skipper had?
The prophecies were future fortunes told to four of the students after rolling a six-sided dice. Amelia rolls first and rolls a 6. The book reveals that means she will lose something. Amelia did not disappear when the rest of the children did. She lost her friends, and as Astrid finds out later, she lost herself willingly. She becomes Cybelle, shedding the traumatized, sad girl she once was in favor of the more enlightened person she has become. Falke rolls a 3, which means he will suffer.
He suffers from mental illness either inflicted on him or caused by the trauma of losing his friends and what he saw on that night. Jakob goes next and rolls a 2. He will be punished. He knew before the grimoire told him he was destined to die on a specific date. How he was punished other than a prenatural bit of knowledge that would absolutely mess with your head, we don’t know.
Finally, Ida rolled a 1 and would be the sacrifice. Neither the viewer nor Ida knew at that time that she was conceived by Lene and The Hare King and must be returned on her 18th birthday. Her innocence was sacrificed when she had sex with a masked Henrik, and later she was held captive in the red world. We don’t know the other prophecies, numbers 4 and 5, respectively.
Who is Ostara
The Goddess Ostara is who the Spring Equinox is tied to. It is that special time in the year when everything is on balance. There is as much light as dark, as much male energy as female, and as much inner and outer. It sounds a little Stranger Things and the Upside Down, and yet this day is still significant to modern-day Druids and acknowledged as the first official day of Spring in most of the world. Ostara is about the promise of Spring, birth, and fertility. It is the moment just before light overtakes dark, and the sun once again, lights and warms our Earth.
Traditionally it was celebrated in April, and the holiday was named after the Germanic Goddess Eostre/Ostara. It is now celebrated on March 21st. The female hormone Estrogen gets its name from the Goddess as she represents motherhood and birth. The story goes that Ostara and the Hare King fell in love during the Spring Equinox. They discontinued their love affair, but eggs were found all over in the places they were together. These eggs opened to reveal baby rabbits that populated the world with the bunnies that bring us Easter eggs each year.
What is with the rabbits?
Rabbit imagery pops up several times in the film. In the first episode, a toy rabbit is silhouetted on a computer screen in Astrid’s room, and the obvious dead animal in the grave in the third episode. Additionally, Astrid and Henrik almost ran one over after questioning him about her sister’s death. Aside from being very misleading(no it is not a Donnie Darko reference), the hare is a symbol of Ostara. When Astrid finds a dead rabbit in the grave waiting for Jakob Skipper, it is a clue to the real story being told.
There is no time travel, no alternate realities, just one very ancient God and Goddess and a few very unfortunate teenagers. The moon and the nocturnal hare, both symbols and totems for Ostara, were thought to die each morning to be reborn again in the evening. As a result of rabbits’ ability to conceive and produce large numbers of offspring quickly, they are attributed to eternal life. The Christain holiday Easter also takes inspiration from Ostara, hence the Easter Bunny. Basically, Equinox is the pagan story of Easter.
Who is the Rabbit King?
Henrik, played by Alexandre Willaume, is a magnetic force. He is the student’s teacher and, as we later find out, is The Hare King or the Cyning. Cyning translates into King. Among other things, he teaches the kids Pantheism. This is particularly interesting because Pantheism is the belief that everything is composed of God. Every law of the universe is God. It also preaches tolerance for all spiritualities as they all stem from the same core universal deity.
Regardless of Astrid’s knowledge or belief in Ostara’s legend, it is a true story, and she is unwittingly at the center of it. Astrid and Ida’s mother went to him to ask for help conceiving. She had been unable to get pregnant, and he promised to help if Ida was returned to him on her 18th birthday. During one wildly erotic and ill-fated Spring Solstice celebration, Ida has sex with a masked man. That man is Henrik, her teacher, who is also The Hare King. She becomes pregnant and has an abortion. This enrages the Hare King/Henrik, who takes all of the children as punishment. In the end, Astrid is finally able to save her sister and the other missing kids by returning to The Hare King.
What the ending of Equinox means?
At the end of Equinox, Astrid, who has been Ostara, joins Henrik the Hare King in his world, and the children are released. They haven’t aged but appear to be in a trance. What they experienced and what is left of their fragile minds we do not know. Torben, the driver, says he was locked in a paralytic prison, scared and alone. The assumption is the teens experienced the same thing. Ida chooses to stay with her sister in Henrik’s world. It is a bleak ending for sure but for those who loved Ari Aster’s Midsommar and its pagan rituals as well as those who appreciated Dark’s somber but oddly optimistic ending it was perfect. It makes perfect sense if you paid attention to the bird gift Astrid gave Ida.
On the night of the Spring Equinox, Astrid was impregnated with Henrik(The Hare King). Ida and Astrid’s mother thought she could parlay the unborn child into freedom for Ida, who was promised to the Hare King. Unfortunately, Ida ruined these plans when she had an abortion, and as punishment, 18 of the children, including Ida, were taken. Astrid, who is the true Ostara, reunites with Henrik, and the children are released. Astrid was never really supposed to be in this world, which is why she has terrible dreams and a connection with the paranormal. She has trouble connecting with her estranged spouse and has an intense sexual vision at Henrik’s house.
Astrid’s father’s story to her as a child foreshadows Astrid being Ostara, not Ida. Ostara and her bird friend lived harmoniously until The Hare King seduced the little bird and convinced her to leave Ostara and stay with him. Astrid gave Ida a tiny bluebird she had made. Astrid is Ostara, and Ida is the little bluebird. In the story, the bird and Ostara were best friends until they met The Hare King, and the bird was seduced into leaving Ostara for him. Ida was enticed during the ritual on the island, even though Astrid is actually Ostara. This is why Astrid and Ida stay together and walk hand in hand back to the other world. They are willingly choosing to stay with The Hare King together.
Everything that happens is foretold by the Spring and Fall Equinox and the Summer and winter solstice dates. Jakob died on the Winter Solstice, Astrid was born on the Fall Equinox. Astrid conceived the child with Henrik on the Spring Equinox. All of the children disappeared in the Summer. The Hare King is coming for Astrid
Whether this was truly a supernatural take of Gods and Goddesses reuniting across time or gaslighting parents who have small-town affairs up to the viewer. This isn’t the Nordic Dark, but a thoughtful taste of folk horror about ancient loves and losses and what people will do to find those they have lost. Netflix’s Equinox makes its position very clear. Otherworldly forces are at work in Denmark.
As the TV/Streaming Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.