Posts Tagged With: Ostara

Ostara: Enter the Light!

Ostara: Enter the Light!

Author:   Mara Light 

In these rather dismal times, people are worrying about their homes, their food, their families, and for those who are of the more humanitarian persuasion, their neighbors. It seems to me every one is wrapped up in their concerns right now, and in turn, wrapped in darkness. Up until a few days ago I was in this same funk, not sure where to turn or how on earth I was going to be happy with the news seeming to get worse and worse. And then as I sat around one day wondering what sabbat or esbat was coming up I was drawn to Ostara and thought, ‘Hm, Easter. I guess I could do something like that…’ and began to read up on it.

I am now very happy I did.

Ostara is a sabbat of light, of joy, of humor, of celebrating and growing. It is a time for balance of light and dark, and finding and starting new paths. ‘That sounds like Imbolc to me.’ some of you might be saying, and I thought so too until I took a closer look. Imbolc is a time when it is dark, and we huddle inside against the cold (unless you’re in the tropics of course) and contemplate where we want our journeys to take us. Think of it as being in a tunnel and seeing a light far ahead of you. You know its there, and you’ll get into it eventually, but you can’t quite reach it yet.

Ostara is the true emergence from this tunnel and into the light. It is time to celebrate and leap for joy! You are SO out of that cave, and the world around you is green!

This ‘lesser’ sabbat is a great one to celebrate; it brings for a sense of freshness and fun. After all, it’s the only holiday I can think of that has cute fluffy bunnies and chickens as their mascots! In the spirit of helping shine a light through the dark clouds hovering over all of us, I have written this article to help bring some fun and interesting facts about Ostara and some ideas for rituals that any one can do whether you’re a millionaire or barely making it. We could all use a break, so I hope this helps to bring some light to you all.

Most pagans know that Oestra, or Eastre, is the goddess of spring. These names stem from the Saxon goddess. She and the god are young and in love, and I can just see them frolicking through the world, and turning things green wherever they go. A sweet story I read—and one I think is more true than other rather ramshackle stories I was looking up—about Oestra and the bunny goes as following:

The goddess was walking through the woods one day when she found a wounded dove. While trying to heal it the magic went a bit off and turned the bird into a rabbit though not fully, for it kept laying eggs! So grateful was the rabbit that it left her the eggs at her door. She was touched by his kindness and rather than keep them for herself colored them bright colors and hid them for others to find that they might enjoy it. Ever since then we have painted eggs for others to find and eat (or eat the treats inside at any rate) .

Colors for this fun sabbat are usually pastels, light greens, pinks, purples, whites, and yellows. Stones used are aquamarine, rose quarts, and moonstone. Alters are usually set up to contain flowers (whether store bought, picked from a field, or fake) , and eggs, birds, or rabbits.

I looked high and low for types of food you’re supposed to eat for this sabbat and it turns out that there isn’t much! Seeds, light greens (such as sprouts) , eggs, and dairy products. No meat (unless you count eggs) is required. Things to do are dyeing eggs, having an egg hunt and races, enjoying and looking for nature around, prosperity spells (we can all use some right now huh?) , starting an herb garden, and renewing your thoughts in a more positive light.

A wonderful ritual that you can do yourself or with your coven, family, or friends, is perfect for renewing yourself. It was made by Patti Wigington, and many blessings to her for this very thoughtful ritual. All you need is a black sheet (as in a bed sheet) and a candle, salt, incense (think floral) , and water. Put the sheet over yourself (if alone) or others (if in a coven or family) , and pass each element over the person (you can make up any words you wish) before telling them (or yourself) to slowly rise and take off the sheet. In doing so you will discard with it all the gloom, sadness, anger, bitterness, or failed results with you. It is time for you to be reborn and enter into the light of spring and love.

Remind the person to take their time, really feel that you’re leaving your old self or fears in the dark cold months of previous times, and entering a world of new chances and hopes.

It is simple, cost efficient, and very effective. I haven’t done this ritual yet myself; but I intend to this coming Ostara. Another ‘thing to do’ that is fun is blessing seeds and then growing them. Seeds are easy and fun to grow, cheap, and hey, you’ll get food from them—if not pretty smelling flowers! I hope you will all remember to have fun and look at the beauty that is entering your life.

The god and goddess are never far from our sides; they show us every day that they are with us. Enjoy the simple pleasures of spring, eat well, and take comfort in the fact that a brighter day is coming. Ostara is a wonderful holiday to celebrate and I hope I have helped to bring some optimism to you all. Blessed Be!

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Ode to Ostara

Ode to Ostara

Author:   Morgan Ravenwood 

I really feel sorry for those who complain that their lives seem to pass in a blur. One minute it’s winter, the next it’s summer, and so many people never seem to mark the changing of the seasons until the day they look in the mirror, see the lines on their own faces and the gray hair on their heads, and wonder when they acquired them. I feel fortunate that because I am a Pagan I’m not only observing the seasonal changes but am also actually participating in them (or, as I like to put it, “living a conscious life”) , unlike those who simply view them as a spectator or, worse yet, fail to notice them at all. For surely, if life is but a classroom and we are here to learn certain lessons, we can hardly do otherwise and expect to achieve spiritual growth.

While we Pagans are most famous for our celebration of Samhain, which symbolizes the death of the old year and the beginning of the new one, I believe that it is the Spring Equinox that carries a much more important connotation: that of birth and renewal. There is no better place to watch this cycle play itself out than in a garden.

I live in the southwestern desert where we don’t usually get much of a winter, albeit the nighttime temperatures do dip below freezing at times. Despite the mild weather, my small but productive garden knows what the seasons are, and shows its pleasure in the warmer weather with a riotous green display.

I’m like an excited little kid after I first plant the seeds I’ve chosen to grow; every day I anxiously peer into the various pots, barrels and seedbeds, beside myself with curiosity to see if the first seedling has made its appearance yet. Of all the stress-relieving exercises known to man, this has got to be one of the easiest and best. It’s also highly effective for a Pagan in that it offers an opportunity to temporarily abandon the cares of the world and perform a life-affirming activity, which is also one in which they can actually commune with the divine if they will but listen as well as speak. That this can be achieved by performing such a simple activity as tending a garden is part of the deep appeal of Paganism. This is why I feel that every Pagan should attempt to grow something, even if it’s just a houseplant or a few herb seeds in a small pot on a windowsill. It’s also a particularly great way to introduce children to one of the fundamental beliefs of Paganism: that divinity is inherent in all of nature.

In a garden we not only can see the metaphorical drama of the Goddess and God, but of our own lives as well: the seed is planted, it grows to adulthood, produces seed of its own, dies, and is resurrected through its seed, which has been planted in its place. The message is, of course, that nothing is ever truly wasted or dies. Anybody who would argue with that has surely never been a gardener!

This birth-death-resurrection cycle plays in all aspects of organic and biological life. I had an opportunity to meditate on this when my pregnant daughter showed me an ultrasound picture of her baby girl, who was my first grandchild. A myriad of images and emotions swept through me as I gazed upon the image of this tiny little creature lying curled up like a new rosebud. It seemed that I could hear my mother’s voice and see my father’s face and feel their love and pride, and yet above that I also heard and felt the presence of something even greater and more awesome.

Other images flashed before my eyes and mind; I saw myself as a baby and my husband as a child. I thought of the day I learned that I was pregnant with my daughter and saw my husband’s joyful countenance when he held her for the first time. And then I thought how appropriate the term “family tree” is. Whoever coined it must have had some Pagan leanings, to be sure! But most of all, as I looked at that picture, I felt like I’d actually made a difference in this world. And I think that anyone who takes the opportunity-and responsibility–in nurturing a life, whether it’s planting a garden, raising a kitten or having a child, has been given the wonderful opportunity to share a little bit of the divinity—and immortality—that is unique to the gods. For sure, allowing us to share this with them is their greatest gift to us.

The idea of new life springing forward after a long period of silence and stillness is a concept that is shared in most religions today, and it is no secret that all of them have incorporated many elements of the earlier Pagan faiths into their own doctrines. I am betting that many people in these religions today are unaware of the extent of their syncretism. All that most Christians know about Neo-Paganism is that its one and only holiday appears to be “Halloween” (which is known to us as Samhain) . They do not realize that while they are celebrating Easter as a strictly Christian holiday, its roots, as well as its name, originated completely in Pagan faiths.

Ostara, of course, is the holiday that is celebrated at the Vernal Equinox to herald the return of life and light to the world, and its rituals and events largely mirror those of the Christians sans the religious observances in a church, of course. Pagan children need not miss out on the usual springtime celebrations; when my children were still living at home, we always colored and hid eggs for them. We would always plant some seeds or young plants and try to balance eggs on one end at the minute of the Equinox, with which we had a fair amount of luck. The kids loved Ostara because it came earlier than Easter.

However, no children are required for Pagan adults to join in the fun. I still color eggs even when the grandkids can’t visit, and will always continue my seed-planting ritual. The weather around Ostara is usually pretty nice where I live, so I try to get outdoors to spend some time with Nature and observe its rapid changes. After so many years of celebrating our sabbats, it would feel strange NOT to do these things.

I hope I have given some helpful tips on how to celebrate Ostara. May all your celebrations be blessed ones!

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Wishing You & Yours A Very Happy & Blessed Ostara!

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On this joyous day of celebration, the staff of the WOTC & myself wish you and yours a very Happy & Blessed Ostara!

 

Goddess Bless Us All!

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Ostara’s Spring: Celebrating the Little Bit of Pagan in All of Us

Ostara’s Spring: Celebrating the Little Bit of Pagan in All of Us

BY: Debra Moffitt

When spring rolls around there’s an itch to get outdoors,  celebrate Mother Earth and enjoy the season. Ostara, the Pagan festival that comes to us from traditions that  pre-date Christianity, formalized it. It fetes the arrival of Ostara, the  spring. Ostara is personified by the goddess who represents the dawn, the coming  of new light and rebirth through many of the rituals, decorations and gifts that  we’re familiar with to this day. They include colorful Easter eggs, rabbits, and  baskets filled with sweets. Due to the popularity of these symbols in ancient  times they were coopted by Christianity from “pagans” (which to them meant  anyone who’d not adopted the religion) into what we know as Easter celebrations.  Many of us continue to celebrate the season with a little bit of pagan  influenced décor and delights.

The festival of Ostara falls around the equinox and is related to spring  festivities that celebrate renewal, planting new seeds and fertility. These  rites of spring come to us from the Celts and Saxons before they were conquered  by the Romans some 2,000 years ago. The spirit of Ostara festivities aimed to  inspire gratitude to the earth and environment in a beautiful and meaningful way.

Ostara (or Eostra) is an Anglo-Saxon goddess who represented dawn, and her  name derives from the Germanic word for “east.” She’s depicted as a young woman surrounded in light and budding trees and flowers. The Ostara festival falls on  the day of the equinox, the day when light and dark are equal. It also marks the  time when more light will begin to come in, days will be longer, nights shorter  and food will be more abundant. At a time when people had to store food to last  the long harsh winters, this festival was particularly anticipated as a time of  renewed hope.

Inspired by the equinox where light and dark of the physical day are equal,  Ostara is a time to celebrate life and balance. On this occasion it was believed  that taking water at dawn from springs and drinking them would restore balance  and be beneficial for a body. Villages celebrated with bonfires and often ate  the remaining ham that had been stored up over the winter. With the promise of a  new beginning in the fresh blossoms in trees and green sprouts of bulbs from the  ground, new nourishment was available and a sense of possibility restored

The name of this Pagan goddess is connected to one of the most sacred  Christian holidays. Ostara’s (Eostra’s) or the traditional Easter festival was transferred to the celebration of  Christ’s resurrection to incorporate the Christian meaning of Easter after  Anglo-Saxons and Germans converted to Christianity. This merging between “pagan”  and Christian festivals occurred throughout Europe, and remnants of it, like the  Easter eggs, remain visible to this day in both European and American cultures.  The “pagan” cultures didn’t deny divinity; they simply celebrated it in a way  that was more closely connected to the earth and Nature in forms like Ostara who  became a deity they worshiped as they saw her powers manifest every spring.

The symbols that surround Ostara include eggs, rabbits and spring flowers  which speak of the fertility and new life she brings. The egg, especially, has  always been a sacred sign of fecundity. Eggs carried the power of becoming, of  creation. Some ancient legends believed that the Earth was hatched from an egg,  and of course eggs abound in birds’ nests at this time of year. They became  natural associations with fertility, birthing and creation. The egg or lingam is  still much revered and often placed on altars in Hindu culture. Rabbits, too,  were associated with the spring festivals because of their great fertility. They  produce a large number of offspring and breed many times during the season.

Modern Pagans celebrate Ostara with feasting and fun.  It’s a joyous celebration that may be combined with rituals to promote balance,  plant new seeds both literally and figuratively, and prepare for a wonderful new  season of rebirth. Even if you’re not Pagan, everyone can enjoy the ancients  rites and rituals of spring that connect us both to the earth and to our  possibilities to grow spiritually. You may want to get some soil and plant seeds  for lettuce; prepare a kitchen herb garden or bring some potted plants into the  house. Bringing in spring colors will help you to connect with spring energy and  move you into a place where you begin to tap into the energy of renewal. Colors  like lilac, pastel pinks similar to the cherry blossoms and bright tulip colors  will add touches of freshness to interior spaces. In ancient times, when  planting took priority as a way to sustain a community, clearing away debris and  weeds was an important step before spring planting. What needs to be cleared  from your house and life to bring in that essential balance so that the seeds  you long to plant can grow? This is an ideal time to take a moment to  contemplate what needs to be brought into balance in your life.

 

Source:
Beliefnet

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Let’s Talk Witch – So What is Ostara All About?

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Let’s Talk Witch – So What is Ostara All About?

Ostara or the Spring Equinox when I grew up was always celebrated on March 21. In fact, all the Equinoxes were celebrated on the 21st of their respective months. Now who went and moved it, I don’t know. I do know this has caused some confusion in the Pagan community. How? Well, it is simple. The new generation of Witches & Wiccans are taught Ostara/Spring Equinox is on March 20. The Elders celebrate Ostara on March 21st. See the confusion.

To simplify matters, someone (who I don’t know) decided we celebrate Ostara from March 20th thru March 22nd. I guess this just gives us an excuse to celebrate more days, huh? I practice the Ways of Old, which means I am convinced that Ostara is on March 21st. But the books and other material insist that the Spring Equinox occurs during the previous days.

To me, it is like pick one and stick to it. My tradition dictates to me that we celebrate Ostara on the 21st of March. Your tradition might tell you something else. This brings us to the question, who is right? I am open-minded but I don’t like people changing things such as our Sabbats’ days around. I personally believe that no one in the Pagan community did this. I think you know were I am going with this. The same people who have stolen much of our traditions from us, now you get the idea.

All of this makes me wonder, if the dates were changed on our Sabbats, what was the purpose in doing that? Was it to make our Sabbats seem less important? To me, that seems to be the main idea behind moving these dates. Oh, by the way, our Summer Equinox date has also been changed. It is now marked as being celebrated on the 20th of June. Again, it use to be June 21st. And to get totally off topic here, they have even changed the astrological sign’s date in June. I know this personally because I am married a Gemini. But really he is now a Scorpio. Darn, my sign and his sign aren’t even compatiable. Like I said that is totally off topic. But are you getting my point.

It is time for us to wake up and see what is actually happening. Someone is screwing with our Religion (I don’t like the term, screwing but unfortunately it fits). It is an attempt to divide us, cause confusion, and most of all take away the importance of our Religious Holidays. I am tired of others outside of our Religion playing with it. As far as I am concerned, they can keep their paws off of our Religion. If they want to play with one, mess with their own. I wonder how they would like it if all of a sudden Christmas was celebrate December 18th thru 26th. I don’t think they would. Neither do I like people messing with ours.

I have never argued this point amongst the Pagan community. If I did, it would only cause a fight perhaps, confusion and divide us. That is what they want. I will not argue the point with anyone in our community. Never! I understand we have newcomers and Elders that might have grew up or just learned that the Spring Equinox was on this day or that day. As far as all of us at the WOTC, we will wish you a Happy & Blessed Ostara from March 20 to March 22. The point is simple, I will never let them win or comply to anything that might divide us. All that matters is that we know the truth, we know our history and our teachings. We never, ever let anyone come between us. We stand as one Religion with many Paths & Traditions the compliment each other.

Always remember it is extremely important that we work to bring the Craft back to the mainstream Religions. Then once we are back in its rightful place, we will rewrite our own history. Yes, Our History, we should know it better than anyone else! It is a history and heritage that I am proud to call my own on this first day of Spring (you know really it is March 21st, right, lol!).

May the Goddess bless each and everyone of you in this beautiful season of rebirth and renewal.

 

Source

Lady Of The Abyss

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Ostara to Beltane

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Ostara to Beltane

The advent of Spring marks the turning of the year, when hours of daylight begins to outnumber the hours of darkness again. New growth emerges around us and we experience renewed energy and hope, while fertility becomes the focus of the animal and human world and is also seen in the reawakening of the Earth and the flora it sustains. Because the Sun returns to our lives at the Spring Equinox, it is associated with the color yellow.

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, The Sabbats | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

The Witches Correspondence for Ostara/Spring Equinox

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The 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.

  

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Ostara Incense

Ostara Incense

Recipe by Scott Cunningham

2 parts Frankincense 1 part Benzoin 1 part Dragon’s Blood 1/2 part Nutmeg 1/2 part Violet flowers (or a few drops Violet oil) 1/2 part Orange peel 1/2 part Rose petals

Burn during Wiccan rituals on Ostara (the Spring Equinox, which varies from March 20th to the 24th each year), or to welcome the spring and refresh your life.

(The above recipe for “Ostara Incense” is directly quoted from Scott Cunningham’s book: “The Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews”, page 83, Llewellyn Publications, 1992.)

 

Source

Ostara Lore

Researched and Compiled by StormWing

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Pagan Craft Making, The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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