Hold an Ostara Ritual for Solitaries

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.

Tips:

  • 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.

 

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Use Natural Dyes to Color Your Ostara Eggs


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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.

Tips:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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


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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.

Colors

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.

New Life

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