The Spring Equinox is knocking on our dew-stained windows, beckoning us to remember its beauty and release. Many Wiccans, witches and Pagans celebrate the Spring Equinox, also known as Ostara, which falls around March 21st on the calendar each year. Learn all about Ostara’s meaning, how to celebrate Ostara with old and modern traditions, and adapt our simple Ostara ritual as your own.
Ostara and Easter’s Similar Origins
The word Ostara originates from a Spring Goddess’s name—Eostre. The symbols of Ostara are uncannily similar to the traditions of the Christian holiday Easter. Why is this? To find Jesus’ Resurrection Day on the calendar – look at the first full moon following the Spring Equinox, and Easter will be on the first Sunday following the full moon. If it happens the first full moon of Spring falls on a Sunday, then Easter will be on the following Sunday.
Easter & Fertility
The word Easter looks a lot like the Spring Goddess’s name Eostre, doesn’t it? There’s no coincidence there! Ostara (the Spring Equinox) was celebrated by Germanic people and by the Anglo-Saxons. Fertility and rebirth of the earth were the two main reasons for Ostara festivities. The earth is returning to its abundant greenness and the sun is returning to the high skies. Flowers are budding, lambs are bleating in the fields, and the whole of nature is singing.
Ostara Symbols and Traditions
The Easter Bunny is an image on a pedestal with the likes of Santa Claus and The Tooth Fairy. But where does the Easter Bunny come from? Just like so many other historical Holiday icons and traditions, the Easter Bunny was born from Pagan customs. Bunnies are cute, fluffy, and hippety-hoppety. But they’re also known for mating. LOTS of it. It should come as no surprise the Rabbit is one of Ostara’s original symbols of fertility. In addition, there’s speculation the goddess Eostre once had a consort who was part-rabbit.
Easter Eggs are another symbol of fertility and rebirth. Christians claim Easter eggs represent Christ’s Resurrection – an egg inevitably means new life or birth into a new life. The “dying of eggs” tradition may have its roots in the ancient Zoroastrians’ painting egg ritual on the Spring Equinox. Painting eggs is a common activity at various times of the year for many countries, including Ukraine, the U.S., Austria, Germany, Poland, Russia, and Bulgaria.
Another image that is widely associated with Ostara and Easter…the flower. The symbol of the flower is new life. Flowers have an uplifting effect on us. Their bright colors prove even though there is a time for death, there will always be a time for rebirth. This Ostara, pick some wildflowers and place them in a vase on your table or altar. Or decorate your table with Spring greenery. It will remind you of the beauty of Spring and of the true meaning of Ostara (and Easter, for that matter) which is new life.
13 SIMPLE Ways to Celebrate Ostara …
A Simple Ostara Ritual
If you’re looking for simple Ostara rituals, here’s one of ours to adapt to fit your needs.
On Ostara, stand outside somewhere private. Breathe in the air and remind yourself why Spring is special and magical. Let old memories of the Springtime and Ostara arise in your mind. Holding the joyful memories of spring in your mind:
Turn and face the direction of the sun. Thank the sun for its grand return to the sky and ask for its blessings upon the land.
Thank Mother Nature for her nourishment and love.
If you have shoes on, remove them and allow the earth’s energy to rise into your feet and gradually up your legs and then through the rest of your body.
Choose the nearest tree and walk over to it, still feeling the earth’s energy undulating in waves throughout your body. Hold your hand out to the tree, fingers up and place your palm against the tree, as if saying hello.
Let the tree’s energy flow into your fingers and palm and then into your arm, slowly meeting and mixing with the energy still rising from your feet. Place your other palm against the tree to greet the tree’s spirit.
Let the tree’s energy fill the top portion of your body, including your mind and heart. At this point, you will feel the earth and tree’s energy meeting and combining. If you cannot feel it physically, feel it with your mind and spirit.
Visualize the energies mixing and filling your body fluidly. This is the spirit of Spring and the soul of nature.
Wrapping Up the Ritual…
To end your Ostara ritual, be sure that both of your feet are flat upon the ground and both palms are flat against the same tree. Imagine some of your energy and spirit flowing out from your heart chakra and into the tree.
Think of your solar plexus as sending waves of your energy down through your legs, through your feet and into the earth. This is to give some of yourself to the earth, as you have taken some of its energy in this rite.
Once more, face the sun (don’t stare directly at it), and thank the sun for its warmth and thank the earth for its upcoming gifts to us this Spring.
After you have performed this simple Ostara ritual, remember the exchange of energies for the rest of the day. Remember why we love Spring and be grateful for all of the fruitfulness of the earth. If we take, we must give something in return.
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