The first day of spring celebrates the awakening of the earth and the renewed fertility of the land. The Goddess awakens as the God matures, symbolizing this day as a time of balance (day and night equal), waxing power, and harmony. As a time of new beginnings, action, and planting, Ostara rites include cleaning out the old, and ridding oneself of bad habits, thoughts, and feelings. This makes an excellent time for self and home cleansing. Rabbits and eggs are common symbols of this holiday as signs of fertility and rebirth. As springs marks creativity and creative powers, a common tradition includes painting eggs.
- Gems: aquamarine, moonstone, rose quartz
- Foods: eggs, honey, seeds, sweetbreads
- Herbs: benzoin, Dittany of Crete, dragon's blood, ginger, mint, sage
Ostara Celebration Ideas for Beginners
The spring or vernal equinox is a time of balance. Unlike the autumn equinox that is a time of balance between plenty and death, Ostara marks the balance point between slumber and awakening. During this time, all life is stirring with a promise of fruitful harvests later in the year. Ostara celebrates this balance and encourages us to shift gears from the months of reflection and planning and into times for awakening and action. It is time to act on what we have planned and move forward with the new insights and lessons we have learned from the past. We can clean out old clutter to make room for our new lives and prepare for the welcoming spring and summer months to come. For the newcomer to this holiday, these are a few fun activities to get you started.
As with each Sabbat, it is best to go outside, take a walk, camp, or connect with nature in whatever way is practical in your area and climate. During the last Sabbat, the earth was still sleeping and showing very minimal signs of the springtime to come depending upon your local climate. Now the earth is showing real signs of awakening. Even in some of the cooler climates, plants are poking out of the ground and some trees and bushes are growing little buds. Birds are starting to return and the earth resembles a large household of family members starting to stir at the beginning of their day. Take advantage of this day to stop and reflect on these changes. How is it different from the months we just had? Can you already catch a glimpse of what the weather, plants, and animals will be like in the coming months?
If you have not already, this is the perfect time to plant some seeds for your future harvest. If you are limited in growing space, consider what you need and how much you can grow. If you do not have the space for dozens of tomatoes, peppers, leeks, carrots, and so forth, do not feel obligated to plant them. Work with what you have. If your climate permits it, start your planting outdoors so you can enjoy connecting with the energy of the land.
If you have started your garden weeks prior, you should be seeing some results by now. Some seeds grow faster than others, but at least a few little sprouts should be shooting out. Take the time to really reflect on the processes that took and are continuing to take place. Connect with these little plants that you have helped come to life. Send them loving and nurturing energy and imagine how well they will grow in the garden (indoors or out).
One of the coolest things about either equinox is that they are days of balance. Perhaps as a child you had an awesome school teacher who showed you an awesome balancing trick. Take an egg (still in its shell and uncooked, of course). Now on a flat surface, start balancing the egg to sit on its end. So long as the surface is not titled, you will find that the egg can be balanced and will stand on its own and stay there until knocked over.
While you are enjoying the fun of this activity, consider what you can learn from this. What forces are at work here? Why is this possible? If you are interested in science and physics, you may want to take a little time to learn all about it. You will find some sources will have a rather lengthy explanation involving the earth, sun, and gravity, whereas other sources will explain an egg can be balanced the same way any time of year. Regardless of whether this can be a year-round activity, balancing eggs during the spring equinox and learning the science behind how objects like eggs can balance in general may provide inspirations for ways of maintaining emotional and spiritual balance as well.
If the last section did not provide a clue, eggs are traditionally associated with this time of year. This correspondence seems obvious with eggs being akin to seeds and the spring equinox being a time of fertility and seeds sprouting. Dishes that incorporate eggs, honey, and seeds are perfect for this holiday. Some modern recipes even include deserts that incorporate Marshmallow Peeps! (As a Vegan, I place more emphasis on the seeds. Maybe try out a new Vegan-friendly recipe incorporating various seeds instead!)
Anything you can bring into the home or yard that says "alive" and "growing" is perfect for Ostara. Pastels are traditionally associated with this time as the first plants in bloom tend to be of these shades with the later spring and summer months full of the deeper reds, blues, and other fun colors. Sky blue, pink, yellow, and green make wonderful colors for crafts, tapestries, tablecloths, and the like. Crafts may include painting eggs or creating flower wreaths if the plant life allows it. If not, faux flowers work just as well and allow you to reuse the same wreath year after year.
© 2012 by Evylyn Rose