Ostara - Spring Equinox
When March begins it’s still winter and by the end of the month spring has emerged in the Spring Equinox. Hence the old proverb, ‘March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.’ However this year, March has come in more like a snarling snow leopard, we have yet to see how it will go out!
But whatever the weather, March will inevitably bring the spring equinox, days and nights of equal length.
Unlike other pagan holidays Ostara’s roots are not immersed in the Celtic traditions, but rather in Anglo-Saxon beliefs. It is derived from the fertility goddess Eostre, Germanic for the east. A goddess depicted as a young woman surrounded by light, budding trees and flowers. Symbolically her connection is with the dawn and the coming of the light. The goddess manifests as Ostara with her basket of eggs accompanied by the Hare or Rabbit, a manifestation of the God. The colour green is sacred to this Sabat and represents the coming renewal of vegetation and new life. This is the festival of new growth, when the goddess awakens the earth with fertility. There is nothing more wonderful, exciting and refreshing to the senses than the first promise of spring. Don’t we just all know when spring is in the air?
Ostara marks new beginnings and is symbolised by anything that represents fertility, eggs, seeds and bulbs etc. But it’s not just about physical planting in our gardens, it’s also metaphysical, by performing our own little rituals to start new projects or desires, including life changes, drawing in new love or pregnancy. After all it’s the rite for fire and fertility, the return of the Sun God and the fertility of the Earth Goddess, here they are reunited after the winter’s separation, this in itself a romantic celebration of their perfect union.
So this year from Tuesday March 20th 2018 we will mark the vernal equinox and depending on your traditions there are many different and lovely ways of celebrating it. In the Christian tradition, eggs are exchanged and these days I’ve noticed a trend towards Easter egg trees in the home. Painted branches adorned with colourful eggs. Wiccans and Pagans will be embracing the symbols by decorating their altars with all the colours that represent this time of year. Just look outside to see the yellow of the daffodils, the green of the new leaves, lovely shades of purple of newly opened lilacs. So let’s get bright and colourful. You don’t have to be a practising Wiccan or Pagan to do this, it’s just a beautiful way to celebrate with nature and give thanks for all that we have and are likely to receive throughout the coming year.
Anyone can celebrate in this way by making an altar draped with pale green cloth. Add some purple flowers. Ostara is the time for balance between light and dark, so you can use any of these symbols, a God and Goddess statue, a white candle and a black one, a yin yang symbol or a sun and moon if you have one. You could also add a potted plant or seedlings, a basket of eggs, they could be plain or you could paint and decorate them in vibrant colours and even draw manifesting symbols on them. It is also something that children love to get involved with, teaching them about the turning of the cycles of the seasons, nature and Mother Earth. You can also add little figurines like rabbits, chicks and lambs, they are all bringing forth new life. It’s also a tradition to place a little milk and honey on the altar to symbolise abundance and it’s always a good gesture of thanks to make these an offering to the Earth and maybe you would like to say a prayer as you do this. You could say your own offering prayer or say something like this…
I make this offering of milk and honey to the Earth in gratitude for the many blessings that we have received and those that we shall receive in the coming year.
So as the Goddess drapes herself across the land and the Sun God returns to warm the fertile Earth ready for the seeds of new growth to be sown, I wish for you all to reap well this coming year, may your hearths, larders, health, desires and hearts be full of all that feeds and nurtures you and yours, in mind, body and soul. But never forget to be thankful and practice gratitude often, it’s the key to continuous abundance flowing towards you. Be kind and gentle with yourself and others, remember that what we sow comes back to us threefold…
In love, peace and blessings
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