Ostara – The Spring Equinox
(Featured image courtesy of Astrocal)
This year, 2021, Saturday March 20th marks the Spring, or 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”
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, or when you can! There are no “rules” of when you must celebrate, or honour this time. We feel this stirring deep within our souls as a quickening at Imbolc. The ancient wisdom and knowing of our Ancestors is never felt more keenly I believe than at this time – we are longing for this in our bones!
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! Not quite the overflowing fertility of Beltane, but it’s getting there!
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 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!!
Image courtesy of Wendy Andrew – Painting Dreams
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, Ostara, the Spring Equinox – it is time to plant and nurture what it is we want to manifest and grow in our lives. At Imbolc our seeds were germinating in the dark earth… just waiting for the spark of Brigid to ignite them… at Ostara, the days are lengthening, the sun is warming, and the ideas we sat and nurtured in the darkness are coming to life!
Ostara is a time of balance… a pause of breath… but we know the energy is growing, waxing, the sap is rising, the light and warmth from the sun is stronger. This is a fertile time, and fertility features heavily. Our ancient ancestors would be emerging from the winter filled with hope… it is a busy time, and this is reflected in Nature and Mother Earth all around us – the birds, animals and insects are courting, nest building, preparing… if we want to see the rewards later in the year we need to put the work in now. Nature can still be harsh – the winds and weather bleak and destructive. We cannot expect a rich harvest… no matter what that is, whether it is in our gardens, our crops, or more figuratively, in the world we inhabit, our relationships, our goals, careers, lifestyles etc. unless we put the work in now! Nothing will come of just thinking and dreaming, however important that is, and we know it is vital to dream, plan and manifest – but now is the time of movement, energy, lifeforce. And that can be physically and energetically! …everything is interconnected. If we are self-sabotaging our dreams by telling ourselves we cannot achieve them, then we are energetically telling ourselves we are not worthy…self-care, self-belief and self-worth are all vital at this time. The time of sitting in the dark and healing has come to an end for this cycle – although we are in a constant cycle of self-discovery and healing, life, death, rebirth, this is now a time for action, the time for rebirth!!! So plant those seeds, literally and figuratively, make lists, plan and prepare. And factor in things that you want to do for you!! What will make your heart sing? This is where coming together in ceremony and ritual can help to honour these times (see below for details of the Green Witch Magical Development Circle Ritual & Meditation event for Ostara).
During this challenging year, we have all been inside, and spent more time alone with ourselves than probably most of us ever have. It is time to look for the positives that have come out of that – we are not the same people that we were a year ago, and nor should we be! It is time to emerge from the dark, where Mother Earth has held us, nurtured us, cocooned like the beautiful Spring bulbs of daffodils, crocus, tulips, snowdrops, bluebells to grow stronger, to turn our faces to the sun and bask in the warmth.
As always there are so many Goddesses and correspondences that can be associated with this time of year, and, as always, I encourage you to listen to your own inner guidance, to what and who is coming up for you. For me, this cycle of my life, the Celtic Goddesses have been making themselves known to me… and at Ostara, although there is a Germanic Goddess called Ostara, it is Mother Earth who I wish us to connect with and work with at this time. She goes by many names – Danu is the Celtic name, and I do resonate and connect with Celtic energy and Goddesses the most – Gaia is the Greek name for her, Pachamama the Incan, Terra the Roman – she can be nameless and of all names. I usually just call her Mother Earth. She supports us and all life – she has been abused systematically and mercilessly by us, mankind, for all our history, we take from her constantly, and she, like the forgiving nurturing Mother that she is, keeps on giving, supporting us, her children.
Rituals, Activities and Recipes for Ostara
Your Ostara Altar
Decorating your altar with all things Spring – flowers, pussy willows, catkins, forsythia, daffodils, maybe even some branches of blackthorn flowers! (always pick mindfully and respectfully when taking from nature, and ask permission of the plant before you take)
- Pots of seeds you have planted, or dishes of seed
- Colours associated with Spring, yellows, greens, white, purple – in crystals, candles, ribbons etc
- Oracle cards
- Eggs, rabbits, hares
Recipes for Ostara
Similar to Imbolc, anything that is made with eggs, butter and milk is perfect for Spring – omelette, lemon cake, pancakes, bread etc – but not forgetting the bright lush vibrant spring greens and plants that are pushing through the earth and are the purest form of nourishment, gifted from Mother Earth and something our Ancestors would have sought out and desperately needed in their diets right now – cleavers, chickweed, nettles and if you are lucky even dandelion leaves will be pushing through the Earth and making themselves known at this time. Filled with immune boosting vitamins and minerals, these powerhouses of vibrant nourishing earth energy are easy to incorporate into a smoothie, or a tea or infusion! You can literally feel the energy flooding into your system when you take the first of these most energetic of herbs! (I can feel my body craving them as I am writing this!!)
Rituals and Activities to do at Ostara
Meditate on how you can bring balance into your life – the Insight Timer has loads of free meditations to access or sign up to my Ostara Ritual and Meditation Event (see below for more details of that)
Wrap up well and get outside and greet the dawn – feel the grass beneath your feet, pay attention to and notice all the signs of Spring. Or have an outside fire (safely) in your garden as the sun sets, spending a few moments to be grateful for the day and noticing the sun setting.
Garden, sow seeds, plan your garden, no matter how small, even if you have no garden you can have a window box and sow some windowsill herbs such as parsley, basil, chives, mint and lemon balm, all of which are powerful herbal healers and great kitchen witch herbs!! I can help you plan a magical garden so you have the plants and herbs that most resonate with your energy and will work with you to support your health, see my Hedgerow Herbalist page.
Decorate eggs! A classic “Easter” activity, and always fun to do with children. I fondly remember “blowing” eggs with my Nan, and painting them – how to do that is easy and shown on BBC Good Food.
Donate to a rabbit rescue society, or a wildlife organisation! Seek out ones that are local to you – these places are always struggling to cope, are often overwhelmed with unwanted pets when people realise there is more to looking after these beautiful animals than they realised.
Have a good spring clean, smudge your house and open the windows to shift all the old stale air and energy, declutter and donate to charity.
Work on that self-care routine! – Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal, and what better way to start the new season than setting some time for self-care.
Once you’ve sorted the house, spend a little time on you! Indulge in a ritual bath. You can time this with one of the moons, the new moon is on the 13th March and the full moon is on 28th. Use some special bath salts, I make all sorts of different ones, and am in the process of creating a blend for Ostara (see the “shop” section on my homepage) – or make some of your own as part of your ritual practice, its easy and fun! Have a good body brush and scrub to get rid of all the dry winter skin and wake up your lymphatic system. Create a beautiful atmosphere around the bath with flowers and candles and dedicate some time to honouring the spring goddess, Ostara, Mother Earth, that is within you!
I would normally be sharing the holistic treatments that I can offer to help with your self-care, healing and balance; 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, and reiki with myofascial healing – If learning new things is part of your self-development for this year, you can also learn these treatments with me, however, as I write this, 12th February, we are still in lockdown, unable to work face to face, and so the onus is on us to do these things for ourselves – make “self-care Sunday”, or whatever day, half day or half an hour, a priority for you!!! And once these restrictions are lifted, I really look forward to welcoming you into the cabin to further enhance the things you have been doing!
The Green Witch Magical Development Circle
Ostara – Spring Equinox Ritual & Meditation Event
The Imbolc Ritual & Meditation Event was a great success! Scarily, but wonderfully, there were 38 people who signed up – I had not anticipated anything like that amount, and hadn’t even put it “out there” into the wide world. Thank you to all of you that attended and took time out to message me afterwards, I had some lovely feedback, and feel really humbled that my little events are so well received. Those of you that know me, and have attended some of my smaller events and meditation courses know that I have a bit of a love hate relationship with technology!… and this months Mercury retrograde has been particularly challenging for me – my poor meditation group this month have had to put up with so much – and just when I thought I had it all sorted (a new router and a 30 metre ethernet cable running to the cabin from the house!!) the laptop decided to do a massive windows update!!! But, as I was lovingly told by my group, who were all really kind and supportive, this was the time to put all I was teaching into practice, and that these things happen! Still, it was very stressful, as I hate letting people down – and I really began to question whether I should be running these online events at all? However, I am embracing my Aquarian nature, which is supposed to have an affinity with technology! – jumping off the cliff again, embodying The Fool in the Major Arcana, I’m going to run an Ostara Ritual & Meditation Event!
This will be held on Saturday 20th March at 8pm, via a zoom link.
We will be connecting in with each other, and Mother Earth. Using intention, the eternal flame of Brigid that we created at Imbolc, we will create a sacred space and hold a ritual to not only send healing to Mother Earth, but ourselves, and to plant the seeds of intent, hopes and dreams that Brigid ignited with us at Imbolc. (you will need a small pot of earth and some seeds to plant – sunflowers or calendula seeds are great. But there is no pressure to do this – if you would like to join and just watch, that is fine)
If you would like to join this event please email me to register at firstname.lastname@example.org. The investment is £7 payable by bank transfer or paypal, and will last for around an hour. I would love to welcome you into this space for the Equinox, where we create sacred connection via the web of Wyrd, and the web of technology. I am determined to integrate the magical with the technical as we shift our energies into the fifth dimension!
Art courtesy of Angela Ferreira Magic Paintings
Five Week Meditation & Mindfulness Course
I continue to be able to offer this course on a regular basis, and is open to those new to meditation and experienced meditators. I have studied many different styles of meditation over the years, and I have put together everything that I have learned to be able to pass on all sorts of different meditation and mindfulness techniques. What works for one person doesn’t work for another, but also, returning to some of those techniques if you didn’t click with them the first time can have amazing results, which is why anyone who has already done my course can “jump on” any or all of the classes for only £5 per session!
End of Life Skills Workshop
Running this workshop is something that is very dear to my heart. I was lucky enough to be able to run one face to face small group in the cabin before this last lockdown, but I have run many online over the last year, and it works really well. Being able to pass on this ancient wisdom, these empowering skills, is such an honour. I have seen first-hand how devastating it is during these times of hard restrictions that families are kept apart when a loved one goes into hospital to die, and that most of these people have as their last wishes that they want to die at home, but this does not happen – Where do you want to die?! Really think about that question. In many cases, given the right skills and support, people can and should be able to die in their own homes with their loved ones around them! As a Soul Midwife and Death Priestess, I can offer advice on how you can support a loved one during this time, not only by doing this workshop, but also being able to work with you and your loved one on a personal level if required. For more information on this; take a look at my Soul Midwife page to book the course or the Angelic Aurora End of Life Practitioners website to speak with myself or my friend and co-owner at Angelic Aurora End of Life Practitioners, Simone, for face to face support.
And that wraps up for this turn of the wheel. As ever I am offering distant healing and meditations – but until we can meet in the physical again, lets embrace the virtual connections that we can make and share, and leave offerings for the technology gremlins!! – keep well and healthy.
Ostara blessings and much love,