Ostara & The Spring Equinox
Spring draws near, and with the vernal equinox comes Ostara, the goddess and patron deity of spring. She comes with her totem spirit, Rabbit, to bring renewal to the land. Our time for rest and retreat is reaching an end, as we now prepare to give life to the ideas we’ve been cultivating inside all winter. We also recognize and give thanks for the solitude, self-reflection, and wisdom the dark time of dreaming brought us.
The vernal equinox marks the time of year when the Sun crosses the equator, making the length of day equal to the length of night. This day is one of only two magical times of the year where night and day are precisely balanced – the Wheel of the Year is symbolically sliced in half. It’s time to burn what no longer serves you and activate your spirit, so you may blossom with the spring and emerge as your most enlightened self.
History of Ostara & Spring Traditions
The native pre-Christian Germanic tribes of northern Europe worshipped a goddess of spring called Ostara. The Saxon tribes of old Britain called her Eostre, and she is known for giving her name to the Christian Easter. Her feast day was held on the full moon following the vernal equinox, much like the modern Easter. Ostara is the goddess of the dawn and awakening earth. She embodies growing light and fertility.
Eggs are sacred to Ostara, symbolizing the renewed cycle of life and staple source of food. Chickens kept in natural light quit laying in winter, resuming in the spring with peak months March and April. In Western tradition, we’re all familiar with “Easter eggs,” which date back to ancient times, as a symbol of fertility and rebirth. In Persia, eggs have been painted and colored for over fifteen-hundred years as part of the spring celebration of Nowruz, the Persian and Iranian New Year.
All around the world, ancient and indigenous cultures hold rituals, feasts, and celebrations at the vernal equinox. Ancient Roman followers of the goddess Cybele believed she had a consort who died and was resurrected on this day. The ancient Mayans honored many sacred days associated with celestial events, especially the equinoxes. As the Sun sets on the day of the equinox, the western face of the Mayan pyramid El Castillo is fully bathed in sunlight. This pyramid was intentionally designed to work with the lengthening shadows, giving the appearance of a diamondback snake descending down the wall.
Intentions of Light
Our roots to the Earth and our connection to her seasons go deep. Our ancient ancestors knew this and honored the cycles of nature. When you celebrate the equinoxes, you timelessly connect with our ancestors who have participated in ritual and ceremony on this occasion for millennia. This year, in the Northern Hemisphere, we’ll celebrate Ostara on March 19. Use this day to cleanse, heal, balance your spirit, and regenerate your vital energy. This is the time to activate spring’s energy of light, hope, fertility, growth, and new beginnings with the return of the Sun.
Light a candle to symbolize the return of the light, and set your intentions for new beginnings and renewed passion. This is another chance to re-emerge with new vision, new commitment, and newfound wings. Create an Ostara altar – read my blog on this topic for more info. Charge your gems under the Sun, in the light of the equinox, to infuse them with the fiery spark of life and rebirth. Ask them to generously hold the power of the Sun’s radiance, making it readily available to you as the Wheel of the Year continues to turn. This ritual is especially powerful at noon when the Sun is at its highest point in the sky, and at the first moment of spring (when the Sun moves into the sign of Aries), which varies by geographic location. This year, in Los Angeles, the exact time is 8:49 pm PT on Thursday, March 19.
At this potent point of transition into the days of light, take a moment to pause during the brief balance between light and dark; day and night. May it reconnect you with your own harmony and wholeness, in perfect proportion.
Speak, Ostara, of hope and growth – your gifts to us.
Teach me the ways of light
and reveal the path of illumination
as I prepare to transcend.
Shedding my cold winter skin,
I activate my sanctity,
burning away what no longer serves me.
I emerge from my hibernation,
awaken my dormant energy,
and blossom with the spring.
Amen, A’ho, So it is.
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