OTHER WAYS OF MARKING OESTARA
* Celebrate the arrival of spring with flowers. Bring them into your own home and, in keeping with the theme of balance, give them to others. You do not have to spend a lot of money – one or two blooms given for no other reason than ‘spring is here’ can often bring a smile to even the most gloomy face.
* Do a bit of ‘personal housekeeping’. We live in an age where guilt is more often encouraged then pride, where we are encouraged to dwell upon our ‘negative’ points and habits. This is not the way of the Witch. As Witches we must learn to be as honest about our plus points as society would like us to be about our minuses.
Advertising, probably the most pervasive kind of propaganda, encourages us to think
of ourselves as ‘less than perfect’ unless we look and dress like the people in the
adverts and possess all the things that the advertisers would like us to spend money
on. It is worth bearing in mind that if we truly needed these products then there would
be no need to put them into commercials!
However, to return to the ‘personal housekeeping’, write a list of 20 of your plus points,
things you are good at, and 20 minus points, things you would like to improve. Try
not to be influenced by stereotypes – many female Witches include ‘outspoken’ on
their list of negatives, while males will describe the same quality as positive! If you
absolutely must include your physical attributes on the minus list, then make sure
that these are things which you can sensibly expect to change, but don’t fall into the
advertisers’ trap. From the perspective of the Witch it is far more important that you
should come to terms with the person that you are, rather than worry about the way
people see you.
One of the first tasks of the Witch is to understand and accept themselves, with all
their good and bad points, because it is only when you understand yourself that you
will be in a position to understand others, and therein lies a good portion of Witches’
Start to learn about some of the plants and herbs which have been traditionally used
as remedies. A basic knowledge of herbs is part of the heritage of the Witch.
AN OESTARA RITUAL
The main points of this sabbath are those of balance and of spring.
This ritual is best performed outdoors. In advance you will need to collect a small handful of old leaves and write on each something that you would like to be rid of. Also take a small number of seeds or seedlings (if these seedlings come from the seeds you planted at Imbolg, so much the better), one for each new thing that you wish to attain.
Silently ask the elements, the Goddess and the God to be with you, then when you are ready, dig a hole large enough to give space to the seedlings you wish to grow and place the dead leaves into it. Say, ‘Lord and Lady of this time of balance, these are the things I wish to be rid of. As these leaves wither and rot, may I let go of those things that might hold me back’.
Next place one or two seedlings on top of the leaves. Say, ‘Lord and Lady, these are the things which I wish to attain in the coming season. Let them grow strong and true from the remains of the old’.
As before, thank the elements, the Goddess and the God.
Remember that for ritual to work, you should give more thought to your preparations than the time you actually spend performing the ritual. In this case, that preparation includes carefully choosing the things you wish to leave behind and the things you wish to take on. On a more practical level, it will also include selecting plants appropriate to your area and climate outside, as well as a suitable place to plant them. If you cannot perform your ritual outside, then you can either scale down everything and work with a single plant pot or you can dedicate your leaves and plant indoors and go out to plant them at a later date.
Oestara Is Also The Spring Equinox
It is no coincidence that the name for this sabbath sounds similar to the word ‘Easter’. Eostre, or Ostara, is an Anglo-Saxon Dawn Goddess whose symbols are the egg and the hare. She, in turn, is the European version of the Goddess Ishtar or Astarte, whose worship dates back thousands of years and is certainly pre-Christian. Eostre also lives on in our medical language in the words ‘oestrous’ (the sexual impulse in female animals) and ‘oestrogen’ (a female hormone). Today, Oestara is celebrated as a spring festival. Although the Goddess put on the robes of Maiden at Imbolg, here she is seen as truly embodying the spirit of spring. By this time we can see all around us the awakened land, the leaves on the trees, the flowers and the first shoots of corn.
Oestara is also the Spring Equinox, a time of balance when day and night are equal. As with the other Equinox and the Solstices, the date of this festival may move slightly from year to year, but many will choose to celebrate it on 21 March. In keeping with the balance of the Equinox, Oestara is a time when we seek balance within ourselves. It is a time for throwing out the old and taking on the new. We rid ourselves of those things which are no longer necessary – old habits, thoughts and feelings – and take on new ideas and thoughts. This does not mean that you use this festival as a time for berating yourself about your ‘bad’ points, but rather that you should seek to find a balance through which you can accept yourself for what you are.
There is some debate as to whether Oestara or Imbolg was the traditional time of spring cleaning, but certainly the casting out of the old would seem to be in sympathy with the spirit of this festival and the increased daylight at this time encourages a good clean out around the home.
Ostara – Spring Equinox
Ostara: Oestre, Easter, the Spring Equinox, Vernal (Spring) Equinox, Alban Eiler (Caledonii).
March 20 – 23 Northern Hemisphere / September 20 – 23 Southern Hemisphere
Traditionally March 21st
The Spring Equinox is the point of equilibrium – and it celebrates the arrival of Spring, when light and darkness are in balance but the light is growing stronger. The forces of male and female are also in balance.
The Easter Bunny also is of Pagan origin, as are baskets of flowers.
A traditional Vernal Equinox pastime: go to a field and randomly collect wildflowers (thank the flowers for their sacrifice before picking them). 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.
Cultivating herb gardens is also a fine Ostara project . This is the time to free yourself from anything in the past that is holding you back.
We are masters of organization today, which can increase productivity. Ironically, being so preoccupied with having everything in order can impede our progress. The methodical Capricorn Moon reminds us to tighten up all systems, yet something unexpected might upset our plans and add chaos to the day. If our schedules are disrupted, we should take it as a sign that we are being too rigid and need to loosen control before continuing with our work.
You might feel as if you’re being attacked today by someone who is simply trying to improve your efficiency. But don’t be too quick to compromise yourself by changing your behavior to accommodate others. There’s no need to pretend that you’re willing to modify your approach just to avoid a confrontation. Fortunately, if you’re honest about your motives right from the beginning, you will be less likely to provoke any trouble.
Although problems may arise at work today, they will probably be minor ones. Still, you don’t need to feed them with your insecurities. Instead, use the down-to-earth Capricorn Moon to plant your best ideas, allowing them to slowly take root for future growth. You might think that you have to disclose all your ideas now, but this assumption can get you into trouble. Patience is one of your innate virtues, so slow down and let everything develop naturally.
You are usually at your best when your world is buzzing with lots of mental stimulation. However, you can get so excited today that you say something that’s best kept to yourself. You intuitively recognize that plans may change several times before the day is done. Practicing meditation or breathing techniques can help settle your busy mind.
Someone may come to you with a sensible idea today, but it doesn’t fit into your tight schedule. Analyzing all the facts might not help you decide what to do. You could listen to other people’s stories yet still resist helping them out. Or you could just jump in, even if it means putting your own issues on the back burner. Go for the assist; it won’t be as time consuming as you think and the intangible rewards make it worthwhile.
If you come up with a good idea today, you will have to make the effort to see it through. That might seem fair, but why is it that if someone else suggests a plan now, you are still the one who has more work to do? Unfortunately, changing these inequitable dynamics appears to be beyond your reach. Although you want more control of your own life, it’s better to do what’s expected of you now. You’ll have a chance to put things back in balance soon enough.
You may be thankful today because your common sense is keeping you in line. Although one part of you is bored with the regular routine, you might not be ready to break free just yet. Even if you’re raring to go, others are counting on your stability, so bolting isn’t necessarily a wise move. Hold on to your horses; waiting for the right time to initiate action is always a smart idea.
It may be difficult to understand how your own fears influence your judgments and push you toward one decision or another. Just remember that your integrity is ultimately more important than what others think of you. Don’t get distracted by the intellectual noise. Enjoy the quiet while you can find it; your thoughts speed up tomorrow, making it harder to reclaim the peace of knowing what’s true.
You have set your heart on a bigger prize today, an emotional treasure that’s buried deep beneath the surface. A minor irritation at work can provoke you to withdraw and escape into your imagination, but turning inward now stirs old fears that only get in the way of progress. Unquestionably, it’s smarter to deal directly with an annoyance before it turns into something bigger that becomes unmanageable.
Make the most of your authority today by sharing your experiences instead of just bossing someone around. You have recently returned to Earth from a journey to the outer limits of possibilities. Thankfully, you can finally hear the voice of common sense, even though it has taken away your wings. Keep both feet on the ground until you see tangible results from your heartfelt efforts.
Although you may think that time has run out, the game isn’t over. Don’t trust your senses now, for a trick of light can warp your perceptions to match your desires. There is more going on than meets the eye as the Moon in your sign reminds you that simple logic can’t always override an intense feeling. Denial is not a viable strategy, so keep an open mind until your head and your heart are in agreement.
You might not want others to see how serious you are today because you think their assumptions will paint you into a corner. You’re afraid of being stuck in a role you don’t want to play. It’s important to keep your options open as mischievous Mercury backs into your key planet Uranus over the next couple of days, throwing a few unexpected curve balls and playing tricks on your mind. Don’t be overly concerned by what anyone else thinks; you don’t need to conform to their expectations.
You may be the conscientious person who holds everyone’s interests together today, even if you sacrifice your own point of view in the process. The responsible Capricorn Moon’s visit to your 11th House of Teamwork enables you to keep your preferences to yourself in the name of community spirit. Just remember that your feelings are important, too, even if they are temporarily subsumed by the needs of the larger group.