This marks the rekindling of life within the Earth and the renewal of fertility to our spiritual lives. This fertility festival and the Christian Easter celebration both get their names from the free-spirited goddess, Eostre. Legend has it that while entertaining a group of children, she once turned a bird into a rabbit. To the amusement of the children, the bewitched animal laid colored eggs. Her story is the basis for the Easter Bunny, spring egg hunts, and most other traditions associated with this holiday.
Eostre's story aside, the egg is an excellent symbol for the spring celebration. The egg white represents the all-encompassing nature of the Goddess while the golden yolk represents the virile qualities of the Sun God. The symmetrical outer shell binds the two together, sealing Their fertility and Their perfect love for one another.
From a more mundane angle, all animal life comes from eggs. Fish, fowL amphibians, and insects lay them. Mammals conceive when sperm cells penetrire them. If you wanted to stretch the imagination somewhat, you could say that vegetation sprouts from eggs, too. Being embryonic and shell-covered, seeds are egg-like in nature. For these reasons, eggs provide a prime fertility symbol for thr Ostara ritual.
The above article from Dorothy Morrisons The Craft A Witchs Book of Shadows
For those of us in colder climates the coming of this sabbat means the ending of the cold that has hung on for what seems to be forever. The sap begins to flow, the trees are budding, the ground softens, ice melts, and everywhere the fragrance and colors of spring slowly awake from their sleep. It's the second of the three spring holidays, Imbolc marking spring's first glimmer and Beltaine spring's height and power. If Imbolc is about inspiration and Beltaine about consummation, then Ostara is about growth. Since the Spring Equinox represents new life and growth, this is the perfect sabbat for planting the seeds of plans you made at Imbolc.
As Spring reaches its midpoint, night and day are in perfect balance, with light growing every day. This is the time when the young Sun God now celebrates a sacred marraige with the young Maiden Goddess,who once again became a virgin at Imbolc. The courtship begins. It is a time of great fertility, new growth, and newborn animals.
One tradition is to go to a field and randomly collect wildflowers. Then bring them home and divine their magickal meanings by the use of books, your own intuition, a pendulum or by other means. The flowers you've chosen reveal your inner thoughts and emotions.
It is important at this time of renewed life to plan a walk through gardens, a park, woodlands, forest and other green places. Other traditional activities include planting seeds, working on magickal gardens and practicing all forms of herb work - magickal, medicinal, culinary and artistic.
Foods for this day include those made of seeds, such as sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds. Sprouts are equally appropriate, as are leafy, green vegetables.
At this time, witches cast spells for careers, relationships, and love. It's a time for planting new ideas.
Seek harmony and balance in the incredible energy of the season, and project good health, good fortune, and confidence in achieving goals.
Symbols used to represent Ostara include the egg-for fertility and reproduction, and the hare-for rebirth and resurrection, the New Moon, butterflies and cocoons. Symbolically, many Pagans choose to represent Ostara by the planting of seeds, potted plants, ringing bells, lighting new fires at sunrise, either in the fireplace, in the cauldron, or light a balefire outdoors. I always give myself a gift of a newly potted plant or
take a seed and plant it within my cast Circle. Ritually, a fire may be lit in the cauldron during (not before) the rite itself. You may want to decorate your altar with a colorful bouquet of Spring wildflowers. Other traditional activities include working on magickal gardens and practicing all forms of herbal work --- magickal , artistic, medicinal, culinary, and cosmetic. author unknown
Ostara Deities: Eostre, the adolescent Spring Maiden, the adolescent Spring Lord, All Youthful and Virile Gods and Goddesses, Sun Gods, Mother Goddesses, Love Goddesses, Moon Gods and Goddesses, and all Fertility Deities including :Persephone, Blodeuwedd, Eostre, Aphrodite, Athena, Gaia, Cybele, Hera, Isis, Ishtar, Minerva, Venus, Robin of the Woods, the Green Man, Cernunnos, Lord of the Greenwood, The Dagda, Attis, The Great Horned God, Mithras, Odin, Thoth, Osiris, and Pan.
Symbolism of Ostara: Renewed promise of life, The Union of the Goddess and the God, Fertility, and dispensing of the old and making way for the new.Resurrection of life , The Season of Rebirth
Symbols of Ostara: Eggs, bunnies, new moon, butterflies, cocoons, dragons, flowers,trees.
Colors: lemon yellow, pale green and pale pink. Other appropriate colors include green, all pastels, Robin's egg blue, violet, and white.
Ostara Foods: eggs, egg salad, hard-boiled eggs, honey cakes, first fruits of the season, fish, cakes, biscuits, cheeses, honey and ham. You may also include foods made of seeds, such as sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds, as well as pine nuts. Sprouts are equally appropriate, as are leafy, green vegetables.
Plants and Herbs: acorn, broom, celandine, cinquefoil, crocuses, daffodil, dandelion, dogwood, elder, ginger, Gorse, honeysuckle (woodbine), iris, jasmine, jonquils, irish moss, lavender, lemon balm, lilac, Lily, lily of the valley, lovage, marjoram, meadowsweet, narcissus, oak, oakmoss, olive, orris root, peony, rose, rose hips, sage, snowdrops, strawberry, tansy, tarragon, thyme, trefoil (purple clover), tulip, vervain, violet, willow, woodruff and all spring flowers.
Incense: jasmine, frankincense, myrrh, dragon's blood, cinnamon, nutmeg, aloes wood, benzoin, musk, African violet, sage, strawberry, lotus, violet flowers, orange peel, or rose petals.
Gemstone: agate, amazonite, amethyst, aquamarine, bloodstone, clear quartz crystal, garnet, lapis lazuli, moonstone, red jasper and rose quartz.
Spellwork for Ostara: Spellwork for improving communication and group interaction are recommended, as well as fertility, balance and abundance
Animals and Mythical Beasts: rabbits,snakes,unicorns, merpeople, and pegasus
Candle Colors: Yellow and Green.
Tree: The Alder, a tree sacred to the God Bran, who is said to protect the British Isles. Trees are very
important to Witches, and indeed important to us all. They are the lungs of the Earth, purifying the very air we breathe as they shade us and protect us.
Here is a traditional Vernal Equinox pastime according to Scott Cunningham: go to a field and randomly collect wildflowers. Thank the flowers for their sacrifice before picking them and it is also best to leave an offering to the plant and/or the Earth for taking the flowers, such as some milk and honey, a small crystal or even a coin. Or, buy some from a florist, taking one or two of those that appeal to you. Then bring them home and divine their magickal meanings by the use of books, your own intuition, a pendulum or by other means. The flowers you've chosen reveal your inner thoughts and emotions. A particular suggestion from Scott Cunningham that I really enjoy each
year is to do the following... at this time in the turn of the Wheel of the Year, when all things are green and renewed life is all around us, it is a very good idea to plan a walk (or a ride) through gardens, a park, woodlands, forest and other green places. This is not simply for exercise, and you should be on no other mission. It isn't even just an appreciation of Nature. You should make your walk celebratory, a ritual for Nature itself. Other Pagan activities may
include the planting of your herb and/or vegetable garden.
Another very popular Ostara activity is decorating and coloring or dying hard-boiled eggs - or other eggs such as wooden or paper mache (I call them "Ostara Eggs"), and drawing Pagan and magickal symbols on the colored eggs. You could then choose to either keep the eggs, bury them in the Earth or cast them into a fire as offerings to the
Goddess - the choice is yours. If you use hard- boiled eggs, then bury them in the Earth when the ritual is over. Wooden ones can be bought at a local craft store (such as Hobby Lobby). These eggs can be reused next year and you can even add new ones to the old, if you like. The first thing I do is paint them each a different color - whatever shade strikes me - whether it be dull, bright, pastel, or primary. Then I use gold and silver paint pens to draw Pagan designs and magickal symbols all over them. You may opt to use other color combinations. It is entirely up to your personal choice. I have one egg that is totally covered with interconnected triangles (Triple Goddess), a couple with pentagrams and God and Goddess symbols, some with words written in Theban script, etc. Just let your imagination take you there - it's a lot of fun!
Clear a space for a garden, or start flowers, herbs or vegetables indoors. It's too early in this climate to plant fruits and
vegetables; frosts can happen as late as April in the North.
You can clear weeds, grass and rubbish from the spot where you plan a garden, or you can start seeds indoors.
Pick up litter at your favorite park or beach. Help the earth rejuvenate by getting rid of the mess.
Meditate on the imagery of the seed.
Meditate on the season's flowers. Flowers are the sexual organs of plants, consider what this says to you.
Perform magick to give back to the earth. Raise and send energy to return to the Earth, our mother, some of the bounteous energy and fertility She gives to us.
Meditate on the Moon-Hare, rabbits provide an obvious symbol of animal fertility and see what comes to you about literal or creative fertility in your own life.
Honor the spring or Earth goddess or god of your choice, or a goddess or god of balance.
Light a bonfire at dawn on the Equinox to honor the light half of the year.
Meditate or perform ritual at dawn or sunset.
Meditate or perform ritual for balance in your life and in the earth's life.
Do a ritual denoting the passing of the year's dark half.
Use the energy of the time of year as you would the first quarter of the moon. You can use the energy of this time of year to fuel any new project or goal.
Meditate on beginnings, on the East, on air, on dawn. In meditation, note how these symbols connect organically and how you relate personally to them.
Taking a long walk in nature with no intent other than reflecting on the Magick of nature and our Great Mother and her bounty.
If you don't do your spring cleaning at Imbolc it is an ideal time to clean your home to welcome the new season.
Offerings of food and milk are left for the fairies and other spirits who live in and around rocks and are responsible for the fertility of the land. Leave a few fruits from the last harvest for the nature spirits.
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