Ostara - Spring Equinox
Ostara is the season of the Spring Equinox. In the Northern Hemisphere it is traditionally celebrated over the 21st - 22nd of March. In the Southern Hemisphere we celebrate in September, with the Spring/Vernal Equinox.
Spring is a time of fertility, rebirth of the earth when we can see the sprouting of new growth as nature is revived from the dormancy of winter. At the equinox the world is in balance until it shifts to allow more light and longer days, more time to immerse yourself in nature and enjoy time outside with the sound of the birds and the scent of fresh flowers blooming.
We celebrate with rituals of setting the balance in our lives between our light and our dark karmic imprints, we decorate our alters with coloured eggs for fertility and birth and plant seeds to symbolise new growth and nature revived. The rabbit or the hare is a sacred symbol for Ostara as the Goddess Eostre is said to take the form of the Rabbit.
Traditionally associated with the Germanic deity of Spring ~ Eostre, also known throughout different regions as Ostara, Ishtar, Gaia, Isis, Freya, Aphrodite, Persephone and Venus to name just a few - there are many representations around the world. Her tale was passed down through oral folk stories, her name is similar to the Christian holiday of Easter that occurs at the same time in the Northern Hemisphere as well as Jewish Passover, more festivities surrounding the theme of rebirth.
An ancient tale says that one day whilst Eostre was walking through a field she came across an injured bird, she asked Gaia, Mother Earth, for assistance to heal the bird and in order to save its life it was turned into a hare. The transformation was not complete though as the hare laid coloured eggs. This became a tale of rebirth, resurrection and hope for new beginnings.
The story of Spring tells that the part of the Goddess that has been sleeping underground throughout winter has been reawakened with Springs warming of the Earth. She has been mother, midwife and teacher in the winter and now welcomes herself Earthside as her own daughter, Maiden of the Spring. In this time of balance the Goddess is Mother and daughter - symbolising our need to both nurture as well as remain strong to our own guidance.
Another story of Spring based on the pagan wheel of the year is that this is the time that the Goddess, a virgin made at Imbolc, and the God or the Green Man or Sun God come into their fertility. They begin their courtship, their love grows. Her womb swells with ripeness - ready for Beltaine and conception.
A simple ritual for Ostara
Gather a green candle and two white candles (one for the God one for the Goddess) fresh flowers or seeds to place in each direction. A pen and small piece of paper and a small pot with soil.
Lighting the white candles and placing your flowers around you in a circle at each direction say the following:
The Goddess has freed Herself from the icy prison of winter.
Now is the greening, when the fragrance of flowers drifts on the breeze.
The Maiden displays her beauty through colourful spring flowers and their sweet aromas.
The Sun wakes from His long winter’s nap.
The God stretches and rises, eager in His youth, bursting with the promise of summer.
I welcome thee, beautiful spring!
Light the Green Candle. Say:
Springtime is seedtime. Now is the time to plant that which I wish to come to flower.
Spring brings hope and joy; expectations for desires realized; and inspiration for new ideas.
Life is brought into balance and I am reborn with the earth’s renewal.
Now the darkness of Winter and the past is cast behind.
I look only to that which lies ahead and what I wish to bring forth.
Meditate on the seed of an idea you would like to plant or grow into opportunity, when you have decided write it down on the paper and say:
Lord and Lady, receive this seed.
Let it germinate in my mind and heart.
Let it prosper and grow into maturity,
For I will care for it and encourage it in Your names.
Plant your paper in the bottom of your pot, cover with soil and say:
This seed I place in the womb of the earth
That it may become a part of that earth,
A part of life and a part of me.