Hold a Spring Rebirth Ritual for Ostara
Spring is the time of year when the cycle of life, death, and rebirth is complete. As plants bloom and new life returns, the theme of resurrection is ever present. As Ostara, the spring equinox, arrives, it’s the season for that which has gone dormant to become revitalized, alive, and reborn. This ritual includes a symbolic rebirthing — you can perform this rite either as a solitary, or as a part of a group ceremony.
In addition to setting up your Ostara altar, you’ll need the following supplies: a black sheet for each participant, a bowl of dirt, water, a white candle, and incense. For this rite, the High Priestess (HPs) or High Priest (HP) should be the only person at the altar. Other participants should wait in another room until called. If you’re doing the rite outside, the group can wait some distance away from the altar. If your tradition calls for you to cast a circle, do this now.
The first person in the group waits outside the circle, covered from head to toe in the black sheet.
If your group is comfortable with skyclad rituals, you can be nude under the sheet — otherwise, wear your ritual robe. Once the HPs is ready to begin, she calls the first participant into the altar area, cutting an opening in the circle as the person enters and then closing it behind them.
The participant, still covered in the black sheet, kneels on the floor before the altar.
The HPs greets the participant, and says:
Today is the time of the Spring equinox.
Ostara is a time of equal parts light and dark.
Spring has arrived, and it is a time of rebirth.
The planting season will soon begin, and
life will form once more within the earth.
As the earth welcomes new life and new beginnings,
so can we be reborn in the light and love of the gods*.
Do you, (name), wish to experience the rebirth of spring, and
step out of the darkness into the light?
The participant replies with an affirmative answer. The HPs takes the salt from the altar, and sprinkles it over the sheet-clad participant, saying:
With the blessings of the earth, and the life within the soil,
you are reborn in the eyes of the gods.
Next, the HPs takes the lit incense and passes it over the participant, saying:
With the blessings of air, may knowledge and wisdom
be brought to you upon the winds.
The HPs takes the burning candle and (carefully!) passes it over the participant, saying:
May the fire of the spring sun bring growth and harmony
into your life.
Finally, the HPs sprinkles water around the participant, and says:
With the blessings of water, may the chill and darkness of winter,
be swept away by the warm spring rains.
Rise! Step forth out of the darkness, and climb into the light.
Awaken once more in the arms of the gods.
At this point, the participant slowly emerges from the black sheet. Remember, this is a symbolic rebirth. Take your time if you feel you need to. As you pull the sheet back away from you, remember that you are not only stepping into the light, but putting behind you the darkness of the past six months. Winter is over, and spring has arrived, so take a few moments, as you emerge, to think about the magic of this time of year.
The High Priestess then welcomes the participant, saying:
You have stepped once more into the light,
and the gods welcome you.
Repeat the ceremony until all members of the group have been “reborn”. If you are performing this rite as a solitary, obviously you would speak the lines of the HPs yourself, and bless the area around yourself with the dirt, incense, candle and water. Once everyone in the group has gone through the rebirthing, take some time to meditate on the balancing energy of Ostara. Light and dark are equal, as are positive and negative. Consider, for a while, the polarity of this season. Think about the balance you wish to find in your life, and consider how you may work harder to find harmony within yourself.
When you are ready, end the ritual, or move on to a Cakes and Ale ceremony, spellwork or other healing magic.
- Feel free to substitute the name of your tradition’s deity here.
- If you’ve ever thought about rededicating yourself to the gods of your tradition, Ostara is an excellent time to do this.
Hold an Ostara Ritual for Solitaries
Ostara is a time of balance. It is a time of equal parts light and dark. At Mabon, we have this same balance, but the light is leaving us. Today, six months later, it is returning. Spring has arrived, and with it comes hope and warmth. Deep within the cold earth, seeds are beginning to sprout. In the damp fields, the livestock are preparing to give birth. In the forest, under a canopy of newly sprouted leaves, the animals of the wild ready their dens for the arrival of their young. Spring is here.
For this ritual, you’ll want to decorate your altar with symbols of the season. Think about all the colors you see in nature at this time of year — bright daffodils, crocuses, plump tulips, green shoots — and incorporate them into your altar. This is also a time of fertility in the natural world — the egg is the perfect representation of this aspect of the season. Symbols of young animals such as lambs, chicks, and calves are also great altar adornments for Ostara.
In addition, you’ll need the following:
Perform this ritual outside if at all possible, in the early morning as the sun rises. It’s spring, so it may be a bit chilly, but it’s a good time to reconnect with the earth. If your tradition normally requires you to cast a circle, do so now.
- Three candles — one yellow, one green, and one purple
- A bowl of milk
- A small bowl of honey or sugar
Begin by taking a moment to focus on the air around you. Inhale deeply, and see if you can smell the change in the seasons. Depending on where you live, the air may have an earthy aroma, or a rainy one, or even smell like green grass. Sense the shift in energy as the Wheel of the Year has turned. Light the green candle, to symbolize the blossoming earth. As you light it, say:
The Wheel of the Year turns once more,
and the vernal equinox arrives.
Light and dark are equal,
and the soil begins to change.
The earth awakes from its slumber,
and new life springs forth once more.
Next, light the yellow candle, representing the sun. As you do so, say:
The sun draws ever closer to us,
greeting the earth with its welcoming rays.
Light and dark are equal,
and the sky fills with light and warmth.
The sun warms the land beneath our feet,
and gives life to all in its path.
Finally, light the purple candle. This one represents the Divine in our lives — whether you call it a god or a goddess, whether you identify it by name or simply as a universal life force, this is the candle which stands for all the things we do not know, all those things we cannot understand, but that are the sacred in our daily lives. As you light this candle, focus on the Divine around and within you. Say:
Spring has come! For this, we are thankful!
The Divine is present all around,
in the cool fall of a rain storm,
in the tiny buds of a flower,
in the down of a newborn chick,
in the fertile fields waiting to be planted,
in the sky above us,
and in the earth below us.
We thank the universe* for all it has to offer us,
and are so blessed to be alive on this day.
Welcome, life! Welcome, light! Welcome, spring!
Take a moment and meditate on the three flames before you and what they symbolize. Consider your own place within these three things — the earth, the sun, and the Divine. How do you fit into the grand scheme of things? How do you find balance between light and dark in your own life?
Finally, blend the milk and honey together, mixing gently. Pour it onto the ground around your altar space as an offering to the earth**. As you do, you may wish to say something like:
I make this offering to the earth,
As thanks for the many blessings I have received,
And those I shall some day receive.
Once you have made your offering, stand for a minute facing your altar. Feel the cool earth beneath your feet, and the sun on your face. Take in every sensation of this moment, and know that you are in a perfect place of balance between light and dark, winter and summer, warmth and cold — a time of polarity and harmony.
When you are ready, end the ritual.
- Instead of “the Universe”, feel free to insert the name of your patron deity or the gods of your tradition here.
- If you’re doing this rite indoors, take your bowl of milk and honey and pour it in your garden, or around your yard.
Use Natural Dyes to Color Your Ostara Eggs
Ostara is a time of fertility and rebirth, and few things symbolize this as well as the egg. By coloring them with bright pinks, blues and yellows, we’re welcoming the colors of spring back into our lives, and saying farewell to winter. However, a lot of commercially available egg-dying products are made from chemicals. They may not be toxic, but on the other hand, you might not have a clue what the ingredients are. Why not try using natural sources to get a variety of shades, and REALLY celebrate the colors of the season? It’s fun, and allows you to tap into your creative juices while you’re welcoming spring.
First of all, plan on only doing about 3 – 4 eggs at a time. You’ll need them to have room to bob around in the pan, and not be piled on top of one another. Before starting, poke a small hole with a pin or needle in the end of each egg. This will help keep them from cracking while they boil. You’ll really want to have at least a dozen eggs, just because it’s a lot of fun to experiment with different colors.
Start your water boiling. Use enough to cover about an inch over the tops of the eggs, but don’t put them in the pan yet. Add 2 tsp of white vinegar, and bring the water to a boil. Once it’s boiling, add 3 – 4 eggs using a slotted spoon (helpful hint: do NOT let your kids drop them in the water. Trust me on this one). Next, add your coloring material. Here’s where it gets really fun!
To color your eggs, add one of the following items. You’ll have to experiment a little to see how much to add, but try different amounts to get different shades of each color. Once you’ve added your coloring, allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Red/pink: paprika
- Purple: concentrated grape juice (Welch’s works nicely, about half a can)
- Yellow: Skins (only) of a half dozen yellow onions
- Gold: Curry powder or tumeric
- Beige: coffee grounds
- Light green: frozen chopped spinach (1/3 to 1/2 package)
- Blue: 1 Cup frozen blueberries (with juice)
After they’ve boiled, carefully remove the eggs from the pot with your slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel to dry. If you’d like them darker, you can allow them to sit over night in the pot of dye, but the vinegar can weaken the eggs’ shells. When the eggs have dried completely, dab a little bit of vegetable oil on a paper towel and “polish” the eggs to give them some shine.
Keep your eggs refrigerated until it’s time to hide them, eat them, or show them off to your friends. Remember to never eat eggs that have been sitting at room temperature for more than two hours.
- If your kids are more into the coloring than the eating of Ostara eggs, consider brushing your colored eggs with a thin layer of glue, and then sprinkling some glitter on top.
- Eggs can take on the flavor of whatever you use to dye them, so unless you enjoy coffee-flavored eggs, put some thought into using dyed eggs in recipes.
- Use a wax crayon to make designs and sigils on the eggs before dying — the waxed area will appear as white once you’ve finished.
Setting Up Your Ostara Altar
It’s Ostara, and it’s a time of year in which many Pagans to choose celebrate the balance of light and dark that heralds the beginning of spring. It’s a time to celebrate new life and rebirth — not only the physical embodiment of renewal, but the spiritual as well. Try some — or all — of these ideas to ready your altar for Ostara.
To get an idea of what colors are appropriate for spring, all you really have to do is look outside. Notice the yellows of the forsythia blooming behind your house, the pale purples of lilacs, the green of new leaves appearing in the melting snow. Pastels are often considered spring colors as well, so feel free to add some pinks and blues into the mix if the idea strikes you. Decorate your altar in any of these colors — try a pale green altar cloth with some purples and blues draped across it, and add some yellow or pink candles to carry the color up.
The Balance of the Equinox
Altar decor can reflect the theme of the Sabbat.
Ostara is a time of balance between light and dark, so symbols of this polarity can be used. Use a god and goddess statue, a white candle and a black one, a sun and moon, even a yin/yang symbol.
Ostara is also a time of new growth and life — add potted plants such as new crocuses, daffodils, lilies, and other magical spring flowers. This is the time of year when animals are bringing forth new life too — put a basket of eggs on your altar, or figures of new lambs, rabbits, calves, etc. Add a chalice of milk or honey — milk represents the lactating animals who have just given birth, and honey is long known as a symbol of abundance.
Other Symbols of the Season
- Seeds and bulbs
- Caterpillars, ladybugs, bumblebees
- Symbols of nature deities — Herne, Flora, Gaia, Attis, etc.
- Gemstones and crystals such as aquamarine, rose quartz, and moonstone
- Ritual fires in a cauldron or brazier