Ostara

Celebrating Ostara
(Easter) 21st March
Also known as Eostre's Day, Spring Equinox, Vernal Equinox, Lady Day (Lesser Sabbat)

Ostara celebrates the vernal or spring equinox. Many of the traditions of Easter have grown out of the pagan celebration of Ostara. The Easter bunny and painted eggs are probably the best known stolen emblems and activities. Celebrating Ostara also has other traditional activities that honour the Lord and Lady of the earth.

It's Ostara, and it's a time of year in which many Wiccans and Pagans 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.

The Ostara Altar
Ostara is celebrated at the Vernal Equinox (Spring Equinox), which is around March 21. This is one of the two days in the year when the hours of daylight and darkness are exactly the same length. Though some regions are still buried in snow, the promise of spring is evident in the lengthening days and the appearance of birds migrating from the south.

This Sabbat celebrates the return of life; it's a time to do some spring-cleaning, on a physical and emotional level. As you clean you rid yourself of everything that has stick to you in winter such as depression, bad influences, weight etc. Ostara is a good time to start a diet and look forward to and a time to let go of things and people that you've outgrown.
Your Ostara altar should contain lots of spring greenery and flowers but please don't pick things from the wild, if you can't get fresh then use silk flowers and use essential oils to create the aroma. Make a hand made nest and put dyed and decorated eggs into it. Use pastel colours such as pale green, pale yellow, pink, pale blue and white, to honour the Goddess of fertility. A Moon gazing hare is a wonderful addition for this sabbat as are hot cross buns.

Altar decor should 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. Ritual fires in a cauldron or brazier.

Making an Ostara tree
Ostara is a marker of the coming of spring. New life is all around us, showing in the green shoots on the trees, sprigs of grass appearing from the mud, and even -- if we're lucky -- a few flowers poking up. It's a time of chicks and eggs, newborn lambs and calves, and the days are getting a bit longer and a bit warmer. We can smell the freshness of the earth when we're outside. A fun project to do at Ostara is make and decorate a tree for the Sabbat. It doesn't have to be huge or fancy, but it's nice to have one sitting indoors to remind you of the changing seasons.

You'll need:

Several lightweight branches
Some florist's foam
A flowerpot
Acrylic paints
Spanish moss
Small spring decorations

First, paint the pot with spring designs -- flowers, butterflies, ladybugs, eggs, etc. If you have kids, this is a lot of fun. If you don't mind them getting a bit messy, let them use thumbprints to make designs. Allow the paint to dry.
Cut a chunk of florist's foam to fit into the pot and then insert the branches into the foam so that it forms a tree shape. Hang the decorations -- eggs, ribbons, flowers, etc. on the branches.
Use *salt dough and cookie cutters to make ornaments to hang, if you like.

Use the Spanish moss to cover the florist's foam in the top of the pot. Place your tree on your altar during ritual, or use it as a tabletop decoration.
Note: Try to use branches that have already fallen on the ground, rather than taking them from a live tree. If you must cut from a living tree or bush, make sure you do so in a way that will allow for new growth on the plant. If you have forsythia bushes, they may be blooming right now - their branches are perfect for this project!

* Salt dough is one of the easiest things in the world to make, and you can create just about anything from it. Use it with cookie cutters to make your own Sabbat ornaments.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

4 Cups flour
1 Cup salt
1 ½ Cups hot water
1 tsp vegetable oil

Preparation:
Combine the salt and flour, and then add the water until the dough becomes elastic. Add the oil at this time and knead the dough (if it's too sticky, add more flour). Once it's a good consistency, make your decorations with cookie cutters. Bake ornaments at 200* until hard (about 20 - 30 minutes). Once they've cooled, paint them with designs and symbols, and seal with clear varnish.

If you're planning to hang them, poke a hole through the ornament BEFORE baking them. Then after you've varnished them, run a ribbon or thread through the hole.

Flowers

As spring arrives, our gardens begin to bud and eventually bloom. For hundreds of years, the plants that we grow have been used in magic. Flowers in particular are often connected with a variety of magical uses. Now that spring is here, keep an eye out for some of these flowers around you, and consider the different magical applications they might have.

Crocus: This flower is one of the first you'll see in the spring, and it's often associated with newly blooming love. The crocus is also known to enhance visions and bring about intuitive dreams.

Daffodil: The bright petals of the daffodil are typically found in shades of white, yellow or even pale orange. This flower is associated with love and fertility -- place fresh ones in your home to bring about abundance. Wear this flower close to your heart to draw love and luck.

Dandelion: The leaf of the dandelion is used for healing, purification, and ritual cleansing. To bring positive change about, plant dandelions in the northwest corner of your property. The bright yellow flowers can be used in divination, or placed in a sachet to draw good energy your way.

Echinacea: Also called purple coneflower, this garden mainstay adds a little bit of magical "oomph" to charms and sachets. Use it for prosperity related workings. Burn the dried flowers in incense, and use on your altar during ritual as an offering to deities.

Goldenseal: This sunny yellow flower is often found growing in the wild, alongside roads and in fields. Use it in money spells, or for business dealings. Work it into charms connected to matters of financial gain or legal issues.

Hibiscus: This lusty flower incites passion -- use it to attract love or lust, or for prophetic dreams about your lover. Burn in incense, or carry in a sachet to bring love your way.

Hyacinth: This flower was named for Hyakinthos, a Greek divine hero who was beloved by Apollo, so it's sometimes considered the patron herb of homosexual men. Hyacinth is also known to promote peaceful sleep, and guards against nightmares. Carry in an amulet to help heal a broken heart or to ease grief when a loved one dies.

Lily: The Easter lily or Tiger lily is associated with all kinds of spring connections -- fertility, rebirth, renewal and abundance.

Narcissus: Named for another Greek figure, the Narcissus helps promote polarity and harmony. Its calming vibrations bring about tranquillity and inner peace.

Tulip: The tulip appears in many different colours and varieties, but is typically connected to prosperity. You can use the different coloured variations in colour magic -- use a dark strain such as Queen of the Night for full moon rituals, or bright red flowers for love magic.

Violet: In Roman myth, the first violet sprung from the spilled blood of the god Attis, who killed himself for Cybele, the mother goddess. However, today the violet is associated with tranquillity and peace. The leaf offers protection from evil, and can be sewn into a pillow or sachet for a new baby. Carry the petals with you to bring about luck and enhance night time magic.

On Ostara Eve, light a purple or violet candle and burn patchouli incense. Carry them both through the house, and say:

Farewell to wintry spirits and friends; On morrow we greet the spirits of spring. Our blessings to thee as your way we wend; And merry we'll meet next winter again. Blow out the candle and say: Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again.

Foods for ostara
Hot cross buns, egg salads, omelettes, quiche, apples, ham or gammon ham. Chocolate eggs, cream, milk, lamb, leafy green veggies, sprouts

Drinks
Eggnog, wines, dandelion, linden teas (herbal tea similar to Lime flower), hyssop

Altar decorations
Shamrock, equilateral cross, eggs, New Moon, butterflies, cocoons, rabbits, baskets of wildflowers, coloured eggs, green clothes

Symbols of Ostara
Eggs, New Moon, Butterflies/Cocoons

Herbs of Ostara
All spring flowers, acacia, acorn, celandine, cinquefoil, crocus, daffodil, dandelion, dogwood, Easter lilies, elder, fennel, ginger, honeysuckle, iris, Irish moss, jasmine, larkspur, lavender, lilac, Mugwort, olive, peony, rose, rose hips, St. John's Wort, sage


Incense of Ostara
Floral of any type, African violet, broom, ginger, jasmine, lavender, lotus, magnolia, narcissus, orange peel, rose, sage, strawberry, violet flowers, Sandalwood has a light spicy fragrance and represents growth.  Patchouli smells of rich, damp earth and awakens fertility.  Bergamot is uplifting with a citrus scent. snowdrop, tansy, thyme, vervain, violet

Flowers for Ostara
Choose whatever flowers are currently in bloom.  Tulips, daffodils, apricot or apple blossoms, clover, violets even dandelions can dress up your altar, spring flowers, and light blue in the spring sky.


Colours of Ostara
Grass Green, Yellow, Pink, All Pastels, Robin's Egg Blue, Pink and lavender, light blue


Stones of Ostara
Aquamarine, Rose Quartz, Moonstone

Altar candles for Ostara
Pink, yellow, grass green, all pastels, robins egg blue

Spells
Career, relationships, love, a time for planting new ideas, seek harmony and balance in the incredible energy of the season, project good health, good fortune, and confidence in achieving goals, the time to free yourself from anything in the past that is holding you back

Oils
Lotus, Magnolia, Ginger,

Gods and Goddesses
Gods. Gods of Love, Moon Gods, Gods of Song & Dance, some Fertility Gods. Some Ostara Gods are: Adonis (Greek), Lord of the Greenwood (English), Ovis (Roman Etruscan), Dylan (Welsh), Odin (Norse), Osiris (Egyptian), Attis (Persian), Mithras (Greco Persian).
Goddesses Virgin Goddesses, Moon Goddesses, Goddesses of Love, Androgynous Deities, some Fertility Goddesses. Some Ostara Goddesses are: Aphrodite (Greek), Eostre (Teutonic), Ma-Ku (Chinese), Lady of the Lake (Welsh-Cornish), Minerva (Roman), Isis (Egyptian), Rheda (Anglo-Saxon), Coatlicue (Aztec).
Different ideas for Ostara

Hunt eggs that you have dyed with natural dyes

You can also consider Ostara as a time of balance between light and dark. Night and day equally divide the 24 hours now; the dark half of the year gives way to the light. You can perform rituals to ask for balance in your life, and to honour both dark and light.

Go out and collect wild flowers if they are out in you area.

Take a walk and look for signs of emerging life in the forests and fields or in a local park.

Plant early seeds such as peas, lettuce, cabbage family. Start others indoors

Plan your magickal garden to plant after Beltane

Do a spring cleaning rites/ritual and cleanse your home of negativity and any energies that might prevent you from taking advantage of prosperity in your life.

Perform magick by planting a seed to grow with your spell. You can use the energy of this time of year to fuel any new project or goal. Think of how you wish to change and grow while planting the seed and watch it flourish as you do.

Make hot cross buns

Light pairs of white and black candles, symbolizing dark and light, in different areas of your home. Each time you pass a pair of candles, you can honour the balance of light and dark we find this time of year, and the balance of light and dark within yourself.

Give a potted plant to friends or family for their garden or window sill

Take time to notice what birds have returned from their winter homes. Place feeders and/or a bird bath out for them.

Create ritual garment. Embellish it with trims, embroidery, bells, stones, sequins or anything else that strikes your fancy. Save it to wear until Ostara as it was considered bad luck to wear it before then in ancient times.

1 comments:

MoonGirl said...

Very nice work. You know your stuff! ;)

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