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!