Spring Equinox or Ostara
Ostara brings new beginnings, fertility, rebirth and renewal to the Celtic Wheel. This is the time of each year when the natural world is coming alive, the sun is growing in strength, and the days become longer and warmer.
Interestingly, in our modern calendar, the new year is celebrated at the start of January, right after the Winter Solstice when we are still working deep within, resting and renewing ourselves. No wonder so few of us really have the energy and stamina yet for all the resolutions we create. Seems to make way more sense to do this when, in the Northern Hemisphere, we are starting manifest what we have been stirring up and envisioning through Yule and Imbolc.
Named after the Germanic goddess of the spring and the dawn, Ostara sparks what we were manifesting during the Imbolic and transforming that with abundant fertility. This typically occurs on either March 21 or 22nd in the Northern Hemisphere.
Rituals and Ceremonies
There are a number of ways Ostara can be celebrated, but it is typically the time that marks the beginning of spring and the fertility of the land. We welcome agricultural changes, such as the ground becoming warmer and the emergence of plants. Here are a few suggestions, and of course, adapt them to your preference.
Of course, setting up your altar, or as many families do - your fireplace mantel or your dining room table. My altar is more my dresser or my bedside table. This is a great time to celebrate the balance of light and dark that marks the beginning of spring. It is a time to celebrate new life and rebirth - not only the physical embodiment of renewal but the spiritual as well.
Think about the colors and themes that surround the coming spring. Maybe include eggs, fresh flowers, and soft, pastel colors. Because there are equal hours of light and dark at the solstice, this is a time of balance, so think about what reflects harmony and polarity for you. Mark the changing season.
Similar to those symbols observed at Easter - eggs, rabbits, new bulbs of flowers, and seedlings bursting from the earth, all of these embrace fertility and spring and can be used for these Ostara celebrations. As nature reawakens, we can take advantage of the feeling of rebirth and regrowth each spring and let that inspire us. We see this concept reflected around us, in the soft green buds on the trees, and in colorful flower shoots that are beginning to peep out through the layers of snow or even from the mud. As the earth comes back to life each spring, so do we.
Decorate with the colors of spring as well. Your altar can be yellow like the forsythia blooming or the purples of our garden lilacs, or even the green that appears as the now melts. Pastels are often considered spring colors as well, so feel free to add pinks and blues to the mix with candles or stones.
When we think about balance with Ostara, we can think of this too as the balance of masculine and feminine, or even god and goddesses, with white and black candles, or a sun and a moon, even a yin and yang symbol. Think light and shadow, above and below, or inside and out. Use the Ostara sabbat to find your own sense of balance - spiritual, emotional, and physical. Decorate your altar with all things that represent your own journey towards inner harmony.
Not only do I love these celebrations as they give me great excuse to buy some more rocks and gems, but they also give me opportunity to bring new plant life into my home or garden. Crocuses, daffodils, lilies, and other magical spring flowers can really fill your space and energize you in this season. The crocus is associated with newly blooming love and its ability to bring about intuitive dreams. The daffodil is associated with love and fertility, and are thought to bring about abundance. Dandelions are used for healing, purification, and cleansing. They really do bring in good energy and are said to help you move on from bad habits when you blow the seeds away from you. Hibiscus incites passion and hyacinth promotes peaceful sleep. Lily is classic spring, and narcissus promotes polarity and harmony, as well as tranquility and inner peace. Tulips are connected to prosperity and violet to tranquility and peace.
You might want to even bring even more nature into your celebration, maybe on your altar in someway, or honoring them in your garden, but the caterpillar, ladybug and bumblebee are very spring. Birds, rabbits, lambs, and chicks are as well, and loads of eggs. Gemstones and #crystals such as aquamarine rose quartz, peridot, moss agate, sunstone and moonstone are popular at this time of year. Fires are also a great way to celebrate Ostara. Allow nature to be your guide.
Hike. Go for a spring walk. Harvest fallen items from the woods and meadows and other areas near your home, and bring them home to place them on your altar to celebrate the season. Do some spring cleaning, even energetic cleaning. Enjoy making crafts, dyeing eggs, and planting seeds. Drink dandelion tea, cook with asparagus and rhubarb, or wear a flower crown.