Date: September 20 – 23
Other Names: Spring Equinox, Lady Day, Alban Eiler (Druidic)
Pronunciations: uh-star-uh, oh-star-uh
As Spring reaches its midpoint, night and day stand in perfect balance, with light on the increase. The young Sun God now celebrates a hierogamy (sacred marriage) with the young Maiden Goddess, who conceives. In nine months, she will again become the Great Mother. It is a time of great fertility, new growth, and newborn animals.
The next full moon (a time of increased births) is called the Ostara and is sacred to Eostre the Saxon Lunar Goddess of fertility (from whence we get the word estrogen, whose two symbols were the egg and the rabbit.
The Christian religion adopted these emblems for Easter which is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. The theme of the conception of the Goddess was adapted as the Feast of the Annunciation, occurring on the alternative fixed calendar date of March 25 Old Lady Day, the earlier date of the equinox. Lady Day may also refer to other goddesses (such as Venus and Aphrodite), many of whom have festivals celebrated at this time.
Herbs: Daffodil, Jonquils, Woodruff, Violet, Gorse, Olive, Peony, Iris, Narcissus and all spring flowers
Traditional Foods: Leafy green vegetables, Dairy foods, Nuts such as Pumpkin, Sunflower and Pine. Flower Dishes and Sprouts
Incense: Jasmine, Rose, Strawberry, Floral of any type
Ostara marks the Spring Equinox, which happens between March 19 -23. Ostara is a pagan celebration of the German goddess Eostre and the origins of the Christian celebration of Easter. As the beginning of spring Ostara is a good time to literally and figuratively plant seeds for the future.
In modern day living Ostara is also good time to start taking action on the ideas and goals you started thinking about around Yule and Imbolc. What you plant during Ostara will be ready to be harvested during the coming summer months and the sabbats of Beltane, Litha and Lughnasadh.
Ostara is also a good time to freshen up your home and life. Take time to do some spring cleaning. Cleaning isn’t just limited to your home. Take some time to declutter and clean up areas where you spend a lot of time, like your car, your computer (delete those old emails!) or your work office.
Symbols Of Ostara
Colors: Green, pink, blue
Foods: Eggs, honey, sprouted greens, baked goods, asparagus
Stones: Aquamarine, amethyst, rose quartz
Symbols: Rabbits, eggs, spring flowers , lambs, clover, baskets
Flowers & Plants: clover, daffodils, crocus, tulips
Deities: Isis, Estotre, Adonis
Ways To Celebrate Ostara…
Imbolc is an important day of purification and initiation; on the Sun’s day, February 2, the energies are very airy. This Sabbat is a good day for coven work, with an emotionally detached masculine Moon and Sun on the Sun’s day.
Dress yourself and your altar in white, while serving white beverages or any dairy food to honor the calving season. Spread the top of a one-pound round Camembert or Bire cheese with raspberry preserves. Cut a circle of puff pastry large enough to cover the cheese, wrap it, tucking the ends of the pastry under. Use scraps to decorate the top with goddess symbols. Brush with beaten egg yolk. Bake at 425 degrees until golden, and serve hot and melting on crackers. During this ritual, bless and dedicate all candles you will need for other ritual work throughout the year. A good way to start the ceremony is to light candles in the darkened room with chanting to encourage the lengthening days.
©️ By K. D. Spitzer Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2002 Page 41
IMPORTANT NOTE for the Southern Hemisphere Imbolc falls on August 1st.
Lammas is the first of the harvest festivals and this year despite the fiery Sun, it has a strong, sensual feel of cardinal earth. Mars lends a masculine energy to the Sun this week to help with the organizing for this bread festival. Round cornbread as a solar disk is an apt and easy choice for the altar, but if you plan several days ahead, you can sprout a small amount (1/4 cup) of wheat or barely for kitchen witchery. Add this to your other grains to your own bread from scratch; or buy frozen bread dough, thaw, pat into a rectangle, and sprinkle the sprouted grains. Roll up your dough like a jelly roll and place in a greased bread pan into which you have sprinkled Irish oats. You can use a sharp knife to crave goddess symbols into the loaf before baking.
©️ By K. D. Spitzer Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2002 Page 93
Daylight hours are gradually lengthening, and the Earth is beginning to stir. Although she is still in the middle of her winter’s rest, our planet subtly begins to plan. It’s appropriate that this period is represented by Aquarius, an air sign, since all change begins first in the mind. Every new thought or idea is full of raw potential as the Earth is now,nailing for the touch of fire to ignite her new growth period. Uranus is the ruler of Aquarius, and the planet best known for its jurisdiction over the future. This electric energy only looks forward, never back. It is during Imbolc, in fact, as the Sun is passing through Aquarius, that many ideas are born. As we prepare for the upcoming Equinox, then, it’s important to be sure that we’re looking ahead, as Uranus does, with all the electric enthusiasm and genius of Aquarius. Honor the potential of the coming spring by uncovering your gift of prophecy. Whether you use a crystal ball, a dream journal, or another type of predictive tool, prepare for the Equinox in your heart, by understanding how much is possible now.
©️ By Kim Rogers-Gallagher Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2000 Page 95
At Lammas, the Sun is at the very peak of Leo, the sign this planet loves above all others. Our star’s warmth is at its most powerful now in the Northern Hemisphere, as it appears directly overhead. At this time, life too, ia at its peak—as are the crops. The ancients celebrated this festival by giving thanks for their first harvest, most especially the grain harvest, even as they accepted the beginning of the God’s descent into the underworld. The myth of the asteroid-Goddess Ceres (Demeter), giver of the grain, also relates to this season. It was now when she would bid her daughter Farwell, since Persephone was obligated to return to the Underworld to rejoin Hades (Pluto). So bereaved was Ceres to see her daughter leave her, she refused to all the Earth to produce grain until her return. At this time,nothing, modern practitioners should be remind of both astrological principles: the fullness of life the Sun brings, and the necessity for rest, as signified by the coming fall.
©️ By Kim Rogers-Gallagher Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2000 Page 95
Beltane honours Life. It represents the peak of Spring and the beginning of Summer. Earth energies are at their strongest and most active. All of life is bursting with potent fertility and at this point in the Wheel of the Year, the potential becomes conception. On May Eve the sexuality of life and the earth is at its peak. Abundant fertility, on all levels, is the central theme. The Maiden goddess has reached her fullness. She is the manifestation of growth and renewal, Flora, the Goddess of Spring, the May Queen, the May Bride. The Young Oak King, as Jack-In-The-Green, as the Green Man, falls in love with her and wins her hand. The union is consummated and the May Queen becomes pregnant. Together the May Queen and the May King are symbols of the Sacred Marriage (or Heiros Gamos), the union of Earth and Sky, and this union has merrily been re-enacted by humans throughout the centuries. For this is the night of the Greenwood Marriage. It is about sexuality and sensuality, passion, vitality and joy. And about conception. A brilliant moment in the Wheel of the Year to bring ideas, hopes and dreams into action. And have some fun…..
Traditions of Beltane
Beltane is a Fire Festival. The word ‘Beltane’ originates from the Celtic God ‘Bel’, meaning ‘the bright one’ and the Gaelic word ‘teine’ meaning fire. Together they make ‘Bright Fire’, or ‘Goodly Fire’ and traditionally bonfires were lit to honour the Sun and encourage the support of Bel and the Sun’s light to nurture the emerging future harvest and protect the community. Bel had to be won over through human effort. Traditionally all fires in the community were put out and a special fire was kindled for Beltane. “This was the Tein-eigen, the need fire. People jumped the fire to purify, cleanse and to bring fertility. Couples jumped the fire together to pledge themselves to each other. Cattle and other animals were driven through the smoke as a protection from disease and to bring fertility. At the end of the evening, the villagers would take some of the Teineigen to start their fires anew.” (From Sacred Celebrations by Glennie Kindred) Green Man – Beltane
This year Mabon/Autumn Equinox is on September 22nd starting at 9:30 AM EDT in the northern hemisphere lasting 89 days, 20 hours, and 31 minutes.
This is the time to start preparing for the colder weather. The time to reap what you had sowed in the spring. The Fea Folk so active outside during the warm weather are stock piling what they need to get through the cold months. This is a time for them to start moving a little slower so if you are in your yard or hiking in the woods and hills in you see the grass or undergrowth move when there is no wind do not be startled or frighten it is only the Fea doing their gathering.
This is the time when the animal born in the spring starting eating more from the land-side or what they are fed to fatten up to survive the cold. They are no longer drink their mother’s milk and have grown quite a bit. This is the time the sheep are sheared, the grain is harvested, and we stock up on stables in our pantries. Here is a trivia question for you…Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable and why?