The Pagan Festival of Ostara – The Spring Equinox
This year, 2022, Sunday 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, Yin and Yang.
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, and I think our Ancestors would have taken their cues form the weather. 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!
Photo Credit: Ostara Wendy Andrew
As with many of our ancient seasonal celebrations, they have been watered down over the centuries, taken over by Christianity and embedded into our culture and activities often without us giving any thought to their origins – the Easter Bunny and Easter eggs for example. Rather than repeat what I’ve already written, you can read more about some of the origins of our old customs and Ostara traditions here.
Herbs and Plants for Ostara
This time of year our systems are on their knees, we are lacking sunshine and fresh greens! I am waiting eagerly for the nettle tops, cleavers and chickweed to appear. They are so filled with all the vitamins and minerals that we so need to give our systems a cleanse and a boost for spring.
The best way to get the most from them is to make a pot of tea, and enjoy after it’s brewed for about 15 minutes, or juice them in a smoothie! A cup of nettle tea daily from March til June will help to boost your immune system, kick allergies and hayfever into touch and really give your whole body a spring cleanse.
What’s so special about 2022?
As I am writing this, today is 22/2/2022. Numbers hold energy – how those numbers fall together, the patterns they create and energies that they transfer all have meaning if you follow numerology. Many people will be familiar with the numbers 11.11, or 22 being referred to as Angel numbers. I wrote in my Imbolc newsletter about the significance of the year 2022 being a year of partnership, relationships, love, karma and humanitarianism, so todays date not only carries that energy, but is given an extra boost of all that two energy! The number 2 represents harmony; cooperation and it re-establishes a point of balance – very appropriate as we are approaching the Spring Equinox!
What is really quite unnerving is today the news is filled with talk about whether Russia will invade the Ukraine!… not what we are expecting!!
These significant dates are often known as “portals” numerology palindromes – they are thresholds, that mark important points for humanity. What this all means for us I do not know. Without getting into the politics too much, I am aware that the Ukraine has lots of uranium, and so this seems it may well be another fight as to who controls that – again, man trying to own, control and strip Mother Earth of her resources in the name of power and control.
Many people noted that they were feeling “weird” on this date. These times I feel are times to take note and be aware of the energy, which might not always be pleasant, but will significant!
Tarot Spread for 22/2/222
When I woke up this morning, before I realised what the date was, I felt guided to do a tarot spread… and I asked a question, which in itself was unusual as I never ask questions when I do my spreads, I generally ask the Universe to show me what I need to know! The Question was “are we entering the new Golden Age?” These were the cards that came up:
We have the Ace of Bows, the spark of life, The Ace of Vessels, waters of life, the Sun of Life, The Green Man, The Cailleach and the Two of Bows as the Shadow card. The two aces are all about new beginnings, fire and water, creation and emotion. Fire as the spark of life, transforming what appears to be a dead tree, but we know this is the Yew tree, associated with eternal life – and as Pagans we understand that nothing really dies, we are on the eternal spiral and new life will always emerge from the ashes. To soothe and temper the fire we need water, the emotional connection – calling upon us to connect deeply with those watery inner emotions that allow us to flow and balance with nature. The Sun is the card of joy and abundance – beautifully placed at the solstice – you can just feel the energy radiating out from this card – new life, new creation, bounty and then we have the Green Man, who is all about gaining mastery over the elements but in a balanced way, blending them in a harmonious union. The Cailleach teaches us that we can weather the storm, which is so significant, as we have just weathered it through storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin!!! Finally, the shadow card, on the bottom of the deck, the two of bows – decisions – we stand at the gateway, between two flaming unfinished bows (fire again) – we have the power to step through and transform, once we commit and make the decision, but we need to reclaim all the tools, emotional, spiritual and mental energies to be able to step into our power.
There is such a lot of fire around this spread – transformation – rebirth – and it feels really auspicious as we stand on the cusp of the Spring Equinox, ready to sow our seeds and transform our ideas into manifestations. I hope it fills you with the same hope and feelings of awe for the amazing synchronisities of the Universe that it gave me….although I don’t believe this “golden age” is around the corner, or even in any of our lifetimes to see, we are standing at the gateway to it.
In more exciting news, I am finally able to hold the long awaited face to face Women’s Healing Circle! Having secured the beautiful and very magical venue Hawthorn Grove. Set in the gentle rolling hills of the Northampton countryside, the Grove has a very special energy, and the biggest firepit that you will ever see!
These face to face events will be in addition to the already established online Seasonal Wheel of the Year Ritual & Meditation events.
For the face to face event (which is a women only event) we will be raising our energy, gathering up what we wish to release and focusing our joint intentions on really getting rid of all that no longer serves us, so we can step into the new season lighter and with renewed purpose.
For the online ritual we connect deeply with the season, and the Goddess or energy associated with it. For the Spring Equinox we will walk the labyrinth to meet with the Goddess Ostara.
I do hope you can join me on one, or even both of these events!
Do check out the links on Eventbrite and also my Linktree, which is a great resource to collate all my social media links, websites, facebook pages etc… if I remember to put things on there!
The Association of Professional Therapists and Lecturers
Something else Simone and I are working together on is the running of this organisation, The APTL, The Association of Professional Therapists and Lecturers.
This is a professional organisation that was created by my dear friend and mentor Susan Davis, who had a vision of creating something that was not only professional, but also inclusive and affordable to everyone, therapists and healers from all walks of life. That was not motivated by money, but a shared desire to help people connect, to create a hub of likeminded healers and teachers who can share information, support one another and yet tick the box of a professional body to be a member of that many organisations such as those in the voluntary sector require one to be a member of, keeping people up to date with what is going on in the industry, whilst also being affordable to all.
Susan announced her retirement in 2022, but asked me if I would take over the running of The APTL, which I was honoured to do because I share the same ethos, and could not bear to see all she had created disappear. Simone and I hope to take what Susan has created and build upon it and what more perfect time to launch ourselves, to plant those new seeds and manifest our dreams of the future than the Spring Equinox!
As we move into Spring, the weather can still be extreme – in fact it seems that extremes of weather patterns are more the norm these days, and we are seeing how much we have impacted our Mother Earth with the damage we have done.
What I hope to achieve, in some small way, by helping us all to deepen our connection with nature, the seasons, cycles and the earth, that we are all helping to heal, not only ourselves, but also her, our beautiful planet, Gaia.
Be gentle with her, and yourselves,
Much love and Ostara blessings,