OSTARA: The Spring Equinox Celebration – it’s time to spring into action!

Another Witch’s Sabbat is here – Ostara! This is one of eight Sabbats celebrated by Witches, Wiccans and Pagans alike. Time to celebrate the seasonal rites at this magickal time in the Wheel of the Year, an important point in natures cycle. Let’s take a deeper look into the meaning behind Ostara as I share some magickal wisdom and insights with you. Whether you’re a regular observer of Ostara or, you are just curious to find out more information, this article has you covered.

NOTE: No matter where you live in the world, whether it’s urban, suburban or rural, you can adapt the celebration practices outlined here, to better suit your own life and surroundings.

The Ostara Sabbat marks the end of winter, yes! With the coming of Ostara and spring, we finally get to feel the warmth of the sunshine on our bodies once again. All your thoughts and plans that have been internalized and developing through the winter months, Ostara marks the time to externalize and focus on blossoming everything you’ve been working on internally, outwards.

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What is Ostara?

Ostara is the official start of spring. It is the time of rebirth and renewal. Ostara is one of the eight yearly Sabbats. Ostara is also known as: Spring Equinox or Vernal Equinox and happens on March 20/21 in the Northern Hemisphere. This equinox marks when the sun hits its high point on the celestial sphere directly over the equator (which is called it’s zenith). Equinox basically means equal night, so an equinox has the equal amount of day and night. However, this isn’t 100% because where you live does effect the day and night ratio (the closer you are to the equator, the more daylight you will see and vice versa).

NOTE: Every year, the time of the equinox shifts approximately 6 hours, making it so the spring equinox falls between March 20th and March 21st.

Ostara is the time when the earth begins to wake up, the sun is growing stronger, the days longer, plants, trees and flowers are sprouting and all the hibernating animals come out to start the mating season. This is another important aspect to Ostara – fertility. The cycle of life is starting a new, fresh cycle. The Druids thought this time of year to be a highly magickal time and even though they didn’t celebrate Ostara, they did have their own celebration called Alban Eiler (meaning Light of the Earth).

NOTE: March 25th was considered the beginning of the new year according to the Roman Julian calendar until the calendar was switch to the Gregorian Calendar in 1752.

Goddess Eostre

The goddess Eostre is believed to be the goddess of spring and fertility. Pagans celebrated Eostre with feasts way before the Christian holiday of Easter.

NOTE: The Christian holiday Easter is actually named after Eostre also referred to as Eosturmonap which is Proto-Indo-European for ” to shine or dawn“.

De Temporum Ratione by Bede

Some claim the goddess Eostre to be a Germanic goddess and some claim Her to be a Celtic goddess, but this is an on going debate. Goddess Eostre is a one goddess that little is know about, she has no myths or stories surrounding Her, no detailed accounts on how She was celebrated other than “feast”. Quite a mystery really. Everything told about Eostre is quite modern. Hard evidence or not, you can still celebrate Eostre as a symbol of spring whether She is historically validated or not. Ostara is the German name if the spring goddess, and Ostara was celebrate by the Germanic people in the month of April (according to Bebe). For them, she did not represent the month of March or the Spring Equinox.

The Story of goddess Eostre:

One day in winter, Eostre found an injured, helpless bird that was going to die. To save the bird’s life, Eostre turned the bird into a hare. While the bird now looked like a hare, it still had the ability to lay eggs. The hare decorated the eggs and then gave them to Eostre gifts for saving her life.

A lovely story, do you agree? But where did this story come from? Well, the story is actually based on an Ukranian folk story. It was Gerald Gardner who incorporated the Spring Equinox which he named Ostara into Wicca.

What is the Spring Equinox Exactly?

Many ancient people who predate the Druids and Celtic people, celebrated the solstices and the equinoxes. Proof of this comes in the form of megalithic builds (cairns & henges) which can be found throughout Ireland, England and other parts of Europe, USA, South America and many other locations dotted all over the world. The Druids are believed by most to have constructed the monuments, but further discovery has indicated evidence that these sites are to be much older. Maybe the Druids are not the ones responsible for these amazing feats after all …

All of these type of site have one thing in common, they all mark the position of the sun on the day of the equinox. Whether you want to believe that these sites were created for rituals or spiritual places or just an indicator of time, as Witches/Wiccans/Pagans we celebrate and honor the astronomical occurrences that happen in the beautiful sky above us, just as our ancestors did all those many years ago.

The equinox in its self is a time of balance, a balance between light and dark. This is a good point to focus on when you are working on your craft. Think about what things you might need to work on to become more balanced in yourself and your magick. Other areas to focus on are: balance in your home, work and love life situations. But remember, life and circumstance are always changing. Continuous, perfect, balance is hard to maintain but it’s something that we Witches are always working on – to be better, to change positively, to be your very best.

Ostara and Similar Celebrations – is there a connection?

Most of us who acknowledge Ostara Sabbat are aware of its close association with the Christian celebration of Easter (although they don’t always fall on the same date on the calendar). It is still debated to this day as to whether or not Easter was taken from Ostara or any of the other many pre-Christian equinox celebrations of fertility. The main theme found in Ostara is rebirth which parallels with the Resurrection or rebirth of Jesus Christ at Easter.

What are the symbols of Ostara?

Ostara (like Easter) is celebrated with the imagery of eggs, rabbits/hares and baby chicks. The emphasis is on new life. It is a time of hope, growth and anticipation where anything is possible and optimism is high. The reason these symbols are used is because of their direct connection to fertility and rebirth.

Another symbol that is associate with Ostara is the phoenix. The phoenix is a beautiful, magickal bird, it lives it’s life to the fullest with so much optimism. At death, it perishes in the flames of the fire. But this is not the end for the phoenix. This magickal bird resurrects itself from the ashes to start a new life all over again, a fresh new beginning. This sums up spring time and the celebration of Ostara nicely in my opinion.

The mysterious pooka (an Irish mythical creature from the fey who is mischievous and shape-shifting) who was once considered a helper to the Goddess to bring in the power of the spring equinox. The pooka is depicted as half man, half rabbit and so has a very strong ties to rabbits and the symbolism of fertility of Ostara.

How can you celebrate Ostara?

Ostara is meant to be a peaceful time where we can celebrate revitalization, renewal and rebirth with most of us who participate enjoying the odd chocolate egg and glass of wine. Ostara gives us an opportunity to plant and sow those spiritual seeds, to nurture our emotions in the hope that through the growth over the next few months, come harvest time, we can reap the benefits of all our plans and efforts

The plans you make can be about anything you would like to do! here are some ideas to get you going:

  • Build a new business (part time or full time)
  • Learn a new skill (this could be a physical skill or a mental skill or a spiritual skill)
  • Begin a new exercise program
  • Learn a new healthy recipe (or more than one, maybe even start your own new cook book)
  • Start a project to build/create something
  • Fix up something to give it a new lease of life (a chair, draws, a chest etc.)

The main thing to keep in mind is to try something totally new! Set your goals high, and remember, you have the power within you to do anything you put your mind to. Your mind is the most powerful, magickal tool you have. Learn to master your thoughts and use your mind well. You will be amazed at what you can really achieve …

We looked at the symbolism of Ostara and the magickal phoneix, which is a great symbols to use if you need to work on resurrecting yourself or an aspect of your witchcraft or any other part of your magickal workings. Now is a good time to go over some old ideas, maybe look through your book of shadows, maybe you will come across something, a missed opportunity that you want to resurrect and breath a breath of new life into. Does anything come to mind?

Connect with the Season:

After being cooped up for so long you are probably going to really want to get outside. Ostara is the perfect time. Feel the sunshine on your face, find a garden, a park or a green space where you can see the flowers starting to bloom and hear the birds singing in the trees. Doing this will really help you connect with the energy of spring and give your soul a much need resurgence of life.

Clean, Clean, CLEAN:

A spot of spring cleaning is just what you need to shake off all the old, stagnant energies and literal dirt and start a fresh and new. It is a very popular method and ties in very well if you plan to do a Ostara ritual or spell work. I am always amazed at how amazing I feel after a good spring cleaning session.

Which deities are associated with Ostara?

Traditionally at this time of year maiden goddesses and young gods have been honored the most as they are most closely associated with the spring-time, hunting, rebirth and animals. Other than goddess Eostre who we have already taken a look at, lets look at other deities you might want include on your altars or in your magickal practices during this time:

  • Dionysus – Greek god of plant and grape vines (His strength returns in the spring)
  • Persephone – Greek goddess of crops and harvest (She returns to her mother Demeter in spring)
  • Aphrodite – Greek goddess of love, beauty and procreation (She is connected to the generative powers of nature/spring)
  • Venus – Roman goddess of love and beauty and cultivated fields and gardens
  • Cybele – a creator goddess celebrated in Greece, Rome and Phrygia (She is associated with new life, earth, love and passion)
  • Eos – Greek goddess of the dawn and association with spring (She is a very sexual goddess which ties into the fertility theme of Ostara)
  • Flora – Roman goddess of flowers
  • Blodeuwedd – Celtic goddess made of flowers
  • Freya – Norse goddess who leaves the earth at winter to return at spring (She is associate with sexuality & life)
  • Gaia – Greek goddess depicted as the actual living earth (She made all living things)
  • Rati – Hindu goddess of love, lust and passion
  • Aengus MacOg – Irish god of love, romance and regeneration
  • Cernunnos – Celtic god of the woodlands and nature (aka. Horned God with his deer antlers, He is the Earth Father)
  • Dagda – Irish god of regeneration (He has a cauldron which brings dead warriors back to life)
  • The Green Man – the ultimate god representative of spring (He is alive in all plant life encouraging it flourish and grow)
  • Mabon – Welsh god who returns from the underworld at spring time
  • Min – Egyptian god of fertility and creation
  • Pan – Greek god of nature, woodland and woodland animals, frolicking and fun

Each of these deities has their own unique connection with the season of spring and the energy and regeneration that is happening all around us. Which deity do you feel drawn to the most? Who are you going to connect with on this Ostara celebration? Whatever you choose do, do it well, do it with much love and intent and enjoy this revival of a new and uplifting magickal energy.

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