Ostara – The Spring Equinox
This year, 2019, March 20th marks the Spring Equinox, also known as the Vernal Equinox, in the Northern hemisphere. It is one of 2 equinoxes of the year, when day and night are equal – the moment in time when the sun stands directly above the equator, and officially marks Winter’s end and the beginning of Spring. The word equinox is derived from Latin and means “equal night.”
What Is The Spring Equinox?
Pagans call this time Ostara, or Eostre, a liminal time, when we feel the Earth pause, day and night are of equal length and in perfect equilibrium, we can feel the balance of all things – light and dark, masculine and feminine, inner and outer self. Our ancestors were not bound by time and clocks as we are, and so we celebrate this time across a few days from the 20th to the 23rd March.
The gentle stirrings and promise that we felt at Imbolc have gathered strength and we feel and see abundance and growth bursting forth from the once still and silent winter earth. It is time for our hopes and dreams that we sowed at Imbolc to become action! The energy is evident everywhere you look and is inescapable, joyous and exuberant!
The History of Ostara
Ostara is so named after the Germanic Goddess Ostara / Eostre, who was traditionally honoured in the month of April with festivals celebrating new life, rebirth, fertility and growth. The land was coming back to life after the long dark days of Winter and this was cause for celebration!
It was from Eostre that the Christian celebration of Easter evolved. Also, the naming of the female hormone Eostrogen, essential to women’s fertility, has its roots within the Goddess.
The Symbols of Ostara
The symbols of Ostara are, as you would expect, eggs and seeds, which symbolise new life, the promise of new potential. In many cultures the egg is the symbol for the whole Universe / creation…. The Cosmic Egg is the perfect balance of light and dark, masculine and feminine, the white representing the Goddess, and the yellow representing the Sun God.
The Hare is also one of the symbols of Ostara – which in later years has been morphed into the Easter bunny, probably because it is fluffier and cuter, because of the exceptional fertility of rabbits, and because hares gained a negative reputation of being associated with witches as their familiars! However, in Celtic tradition, the hare was revered, and associated with the moon, being a nocturnal creature, and connected with the lunar Goddesses, such as Artemis, Freya, Hecate, but particularly Ostara. The Christian calendar sets it’s Easter date by the phase of the moon.
Because the hare was associated with the moon, our ancestors believed it had supernatural powers, and that, like the moon, it died every morning, and was reborn at night! So, represents rebirth and is a symbol of immortality. Also, because the hare can conceive whilst pregnant it is also seen as a symbol for fertility and abundance. Over the centuries the hare has become the Easter bunny who brings chocolate eggs for children at Easter, the Christian day of rebirth and resurrection!!
Renew and Relax With Holistic Treatments This Ostara!
For us now in modern times, many of these ancient traditions have been forgotten, but we can still get back in touch with our roots, set new rituals for ourselves and connect with our inner Goddess!! Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal, and what better way to start the new season than setting some time for self-care. Often at this time of year our skin and hair are feeling lack lustre and dry, central heating and the winter winds have taken their toll. Treatments that can renew and revive are a beautifying and natural sugar body scrub and polish, with detoxifying lymphatic drainage; a super relaxing Indian Head Massage, with essential oils specifically chosen for the needs of your skin and hair which will nourish and deep condition both – and as always, reflexology for balance!
If learning new things is part of your self-development for this year, you can also learn these treatments with me through my holistic therapies training.