Category Archives: The Sabbats

8 Ideas for Celebrating Ostara


Ostara Comments

8 Ideas for Celebrating Ostara

 

Ostara, the Spring Equinox, is always especially beautiful here in Sonoma County, California. This year seems especially nice. Winter’s rains have been lighter than we would like, but they have been gentle and well timed. My farmer friends with whom I’ve spoken are feeling good. Warming temperatures and longer days have brought forth the first abundant flowers, especially the wild mustard that makes it seem as if our craggy valley oaks and vineyards have their feet awash in bright yellow paint. The threats from frost are virtually over.

Our season and Ostara’s symbolism are in perfect harmony.

Wiccan Sabbats celebrate our Wheel of the Year, and the Wheel of the Year, like the phases of the moon, symbolize to us the stages of life, from birth to death to rebirth. Four Sabbats are “Greater Sabbats” originally linked with Celtic agricultural cycles: Brigit, Beltane, Lammas, and Samhain. The other four “cross quarter” Sabbats are correlated with the cycles of the solar year, the solstices and equinoxes. On the 21st of this month, Witches and many other Pagans will celebrate Ostara, the Spring Equinox.

Equinoxes are times of balance between day and night, light and darkness. But the balance is dynamic, lasting a day, before shifting into playing a role in that greater balance that is the Wheel of the Year. For me this sense of balance should be the dominant theme of either Ostara, or Mabon, the Fall Equinox. But they are very different Sabbats otherwise, for after Ostara the light will continue to grow, whereas after Mabon, it is darkness that increases.

There is another aspect of balance that comes to mind as a am mulling this post over, that between the universal and the concrete. Solar Sabbats are universal, the Greater Sabbats are specific to time and place. Together, they balance the universal with the variety that is local. So while I think it is important to make sure Greater Sabbats are strongly connected with where we live, it is not as important for the Cross Quarter ones.

With these thoughts in mind, I have a few ideas for celebrating Ostara I want to share. All are suitable for Solitaries.

  1. On my altar I will have 4 candles. I will light two, and with sundown, light another. I have tried to figure out a simple but visually beautiful way of symbolizing Sabbats and their meaning, and here is my scheme into which this simple observance fits.

Yule – 1 candle lit during ritual.

Imbolc – 1 candle lit, a second during the ritual.

Ostara – 2 candles lit, a third lit at end of ritual or at sunset.

Beltane – 3 candles, one lit during ritual, making

Midsummer – 4 candles, one extinguished at end of ritual.

Lammas – 3 candles, one extinguished during ritual.

Mabon – 2 candles, one extinguished at sunset or end of ritual.

Samhain – 1 candle lit, but extinguished during ritual.

  1. I will fill my place with local flowers. I just spoke with a friend in Maine. The garden I helped plant still looks like a snow drift. Maybe the willows are changing their color as the sap tentatively rises, making for a good altar decoration. If not, it’s good that this is a solar Sabbat!

3. I will watch the dawn, and do some invocations and prayers while I do it. Ostara is said to have been a Goddess of the Dawn as well as spring, so this is fitting, although very little is known of Her. If I was in Fairbanks, I might let this slide.

  1. In Pagan times eggs and hares were associated with the creation of life and fertility, for obvious reasons. While it seems all folklore of ancient provenance has disputed origins, regardless of how these customs arose and survived, they are perfectly fitted for symbolizing this time, when almost everywhere spring has arrived or is coming soon. Dyeing the eggs in Spring-time colors, and having a good old fashioned Ostara Egg hunt is a wonderful thing for kids.
  2. A good smudging, followed by a good airing if the weather permits. Burning sage is the easiest way to smudge a place, though any cleansing incense is worthwhile. Be sure to get corners and dark places. Energy collects and stagnates in those places, and most of us have had all winter for that to happen.
  3. Plant a seed associated with a magickal ritual for something you want to grow. Simple and personal is best. Focus your intent strongly on the seed, then on the pot of soil after you have planted it. Take care of it. I’d recommend a perennial, that you can plant and let continue to flourish with your care, but maybe an annual will do the trick. Depends on your project.
  4. If you have a yard, this is a good time to begin getting in touch with the spirits of your place. But as with any relationship, it will normally take some time to grow. The last time I lived for any length of time in a house with a yard, I would make weekly offerings in a out of the way part of my yard, that I otherwise left alone (all the rests was garden). I would leave a small glass of rum, some tobacco, and a votive candle (be very careful about fire if you do this). After some months the ‘feel’ of my back yard began to change in ways I and others liked a lot. But remember, attitude makes or breaks this kind of thing – as with all relationships.
  5. If there is a public Sabbat celebration, and you are not part of a coven, try and go. Some are well done, some can seem like ‘ritual abuse,’ but either way, this is a good way to begin meeting other local Pagans. In my view the real magic of what we do is most powerful when we work and celebrate together

Source

Information from Beliefnet

Author: Gus diZerega

Blog: A Pagan’s Blog

Ostara Activities


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Ostara Activities

 

Planting seeds or starting a Magical Herb Garden. Taking a long walk in nature with no intent other than reflecting on the Magic of nature and our Great Mother and her bounty

This is a wonderful time to bring a small potted herb into your home. Plants like lavender, sage or lemon balm send their fragrance through your house reminding you that this is the time when life renews itself. A living plant helps you stay connected with nature too. Herbs are especially nice to start growing now and they will share their miraculous energies with you in the months ahead when you add them to your cooking.

Ostara traditions involving eggs include collecting eggs, decorating them, creating crafts from eggshells , gifting eggs, and burying eggs in the earth to increase the fertility of the land.

Another favorite tradition on the first day of spring is to gather wildflowers. Some people use them for magic or divination, while others collect edible flowers for feasting, or bouquets to decorate their home. Gifts of flowers are also a popular tradition.

This time of year I love to feel the new grass beneath my feet and welcome all the new life that’s sprouting up around me. Vow to walk the earth in friendship, not in dominance, and enjoy every gift your Mother Earth sends your way. No matter what traditions or customs you follow, celebrate this time with joy and a thankful heart.

Wiccan & Pagan Holidays: An Easy Beginner’s Guide to Celebrating Sabbats and Esbats

Kardia Zoe

Spring Equinox – Ostara


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Spring Equinox – Ostara

 

 

Ostara or the Vernal Equinox is also known as Lady Day or Alban Eiler (Druidic). As spring reaches its midpoint around March 21, night and day stand in perfect balance, with light on the increase. The young Sun God now celebrates a hierogamy (sacred marriage) with the young Maiden Goddess, who conceives. In nine months, she will again become the Great Mother.

 

The Spring Equinox or Ostara is sacred to Eostre, the Saxon Goddess of Spring, Green Earth and Fertility. Ostara is said to be the Greek translation of Eostre’s name. Her two symbols were the egg and the rabbit. The first Easter egg was said to have been decorated for her by a small hare determined to make the egg as beautiful and new as Eostre made the world each spring. Today her symbols are commonly known as the Easter egg and Easter bunny.

 

In nature, hens begin to lay eggs when there is 12 hours or more of daylight. At the onset of spring our ancestors could count on gathering fresh eggs from their chickens and the egg became a reliable symbol of rebirth in the cycle of nature.

 

Herbs and Flowers: Daffodil, Jonquils , Woodruff, Violet, Gorse, Olive , Peony, Iris, Narcissus and all spring flowers

 

Incense: Jasmine, Rose, Strawberry, Floral of any type

 

Sacred Gemstone: Jasper

 

 

Wiccan & Pagan Holidays: An Easy Beginner’s Guide to Celebrating Sabbats and Esbats

Kardia Zoe

 

Celebrating Other Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Ostara/Spring Equinox


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Ostara/Spring or Vernal Equinox

March 20 – 22

 

The Equinox is the time when the Sun crosses the plane of the equator, making day and night of equal length. This is the actual beginning of Spring and occurs somewhere between the 20th and 22nds of March. In fact, most of our modern-day Easter customs come from the Pagan Ostara, named after the Saxon Goddess Eostre. This is a time of balance, equality, and harmony between the masculine and feminine forces in Nature, the time of year when practitioners of the Wiccan and Witchcraft religions, both physically as well as symbolically, plant the seeds of their desires–seeds that in time will grow into plants representing individual, long-term goals, that began at Yule, the Winter Solstice and rebirth of the Sun.

OSTARA LORE


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OSTARA LORE

 

A traditional Vernal Equinox pastime: go to a field and randomly collect wildflowers [Thank the flowers for their sacrifice before picking them, using a collection formula such as can be found in “An Herbal Grimoire”]. Or buy some from a florist, taking one or two of those that appeal to you. Then bring them home and divine their magickal meanings by the use of books, your own intuition, a pendulum or by other means. The flowers you’ve chosen reveal your inner thoughts and emotions.

It is important at this time of renewed life to plan a walk (or a ride) through gardens, a park, woodlands, forest and other green places. This is not simply exercise, and you should be on no other mission. It isn’t even just an appreciation of nature. Make your walk celebratory, a ritual for nature itself.

Other traditional activities include planting seeds, working on magickal gardens and practicing all forms of herb work – magickal, medicinal, cosmetic, culinary and artistic.

Foods in tune with this day (linking your meals with the seasons is a fine way of attuning with nature) include those made of seeds, such as sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds, as well as pine nuts.

Sprouts are equally appropriate, as are leafy, green vegetables. Flower dishes such as stuffed nasturtiums or carnation cupcakes also find their place here. [Find a book of flower cooking or simply make spice cupcakes. Ice with pink frosting and place a fresh carnation petal on each cupcake. Stuff nasturtium blossoms with a mixture made with cream cheese, chopped nuts, chives and watercress.]

Witches Correspondence for Ostara/Spring Equinox


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Witches Correspondence for Ostara/Spring Equinox

On or around March 21st Northern Hemisphere, September 21st Southern Hemisphere *Note this year it is March 20th*

The second of the 3 spring festivals, Ostara is known also as the Spring Equinox, and Eostar. It is a time of new beginnings as new life bursts forth upon the earth. It is also a time of balance when light and dark are equal. In times past, people celebrated the arrival of spring and the Goddess Eostar or Eostre whose symbols were the hare and the egg.

Symbols:

The beginning of spring, new life and rebirth, the God and Goddess in Their youth, balance, fertility, flowers, eggs, rabbit/hare.

Decorations:

Four leaf clovers, cauldron of spring water, any and all spring flowers/blossoms/bulbs/sprouts, potted plants, eggs, butterflies, baskets, bunnies, chicks, colored ribbons

Activities/ Rituals/ spell intents:

Sunrise observances, collecting wildflowers, spring cleaning and purification, nature walks, seed blessing, garden blessing, planting, welcoming spring, coloring eggs, fertility rites, rituals of balance, herb work – magical, medicinal, cosmetic, culinary and artistic, spells for balance, communication, prosperity/fertility, action, new beginnings, potential, goals for future, banishment of bad ties, positive growth

Herbs/flowers/trees:

clover, lemongrass, mint, honeysuckle, iris, violets, peonies, lilies (Easter Lily), lilacs, acorn, celandine, cinquefoil, crocus, daffodil, dogwood, gorse, jasmine, jonquils, narcissus, olive, pine trees, rose, tansy, woodruff, primrose, forsythia

Incense/oils:

African violet, lotus, jasmine, rose, magnolia, sage, strawberry, lavender, narcissus, ginger.

Colors/Candles:

Gold, light green, robin’s egg blue, lemon yellow, pale pink, all pastels.

Stones:

amethyst, jasper, aquamarine, bloodstone, red jasper

Foods:

Seeds, leafy green vegetables, fresh fruits, hard-boiled eggs and any egg dishes, milk punch, dairy foods, apples, nuts, flower dishes, sprouts, jelly beans, chocolates, lamb, spiced or flower cupcakes, hot cross buns, honey cakes, unleavened bread, poultry, ham, roast beef, yellow cake with poppy seeds, banana nut bread, fruit juice or fruit liqueur, poppy seed or sesame seed rolls, sweet or honeyed wine

Animals :

Rabbits, hares /Easter bunny, chicks, robins, lambs, swallows, snakes, unicorns

Deities:

all love, virgin, and fertility Goddesses, all love, song & dance, and fertility Gods.

Resources: Some information adapted from Simple Wicca by Michele Morgan, and Ann Moura’s Witchcraft, an Alternative Path.

Magicka School Forum

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When it is Ostara in the Northern Hemisphere, many of our Southern Hemisphere friends celebrate Mabon.

The Witches Almanac for Friday, March 20th


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The Witches Almanac for Friday, March 20

Friday(Venus): Love, friendship, reconciliation and beauty.

Ostara • Spring Equinox

 

Waning Moon

New Moon 5: 36 am

Moon Sign: Pisces

Pisces: The focus is on dreaming, nostalgia, intuition, and psychic impressions. A good time for spiritual or philanthropic activities.

Moon enters Aries 6: 28 am

Aries: Good for starting things, but lacks staying power. Things occur rapidly, but quickly pass. People tend to be argumentative and assertive.

Sun enters Aries 6: 45 pm

Aries: Good for starting things, but lacks staying power. Things occur rapidly, but quickly pass. People tend to be argumentative and assertive.

Color: White

Incense: Vanilla

Ostara


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Ostara

 

Winter’s barrenness has subsided,

From the death of Winter Spring’s new life.

 

 

Spring is coming to the land,

The days grow longer,

Warm breezes begin to stir.

 

All around us we see signs –

The growing things are beginning anew.

 

It’s the resurrection of the dance of life.

The dance of the stems and stalks

As they push forth from the Earth.

 

It is the season of creation.

Growth has turned outward,

The land has become fertile again.

 

 

The Earth is caressed by

The loving touch of the Mother,

Where her hand passes.

 

 

Atoms twine together to create growth.

Buds burst open.

Leaves and vines unfurl.

 

 

She creates a vision of the green beauty.

Beauty so breath-taking after

The dark solitude of Winter.

 

It is this vision that we celebrate

On her day of Ostara

The world recreating itself–

 

 

Returning from the death of Winter,

Into the new life of Spring

Through the love of the Goddess.