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 imminent 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 darkness so powerfully offered 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 goddess of the dawn and the awakening earth. She embodies growing light, and the peak of 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 see ‘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.
Speak, Ostara, of hope and growth – your gifts to us
Teach me the ways of Light
Reveal the path of illumination
As I prepare to transcend
I shed my cold, winter skin
And activate my sanctity
What no longer serves me
I emerge from my hibernation
I awaken my dormant energy
And blossom with Spring
Amen, A’ho, So it is.
Intentions of Light
Our roots to the earth and our connection to her seasons go deep. Our ancient ancestors knew this and revered the cycles accordingly. When you celebrate the equinoxes, you timelessly connect with our ancestors who have participated in ritual and ceremony on this occasion for millennia. In the Northern Hemisphere, we will celebrate Ostara on March 20. Use this day to cleanse, heal, and balance your spirit, and to regenerate within the powerful energy of this sacred time of year. 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. 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 9:15 AM PDT on Tuesday, March 20.
At this potent point of transition into the days of light, take a moment to pause during the brief balance between light and dark. May it reconnect you with your own harmony and wholeness, in perfect proportion.
“Morning has broken”…how will you awaken to the new dawn?
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