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