Updated: Mar 20
In the Northern Hemisphere, the Spring Equinox occurs between March 19 and March 22nd; In 2023 it occurs in the Northern Hemisphere on March 20 and will be at 9.24pm. Equinox or aequus nox, means a time of equal light and dark. With the sun passing over the equator it marks a change of season, from winter to spring.
Ostara is traditionally celebrated at this time. It is a time where night and day are equal symbolising a marriage of the masculine and feminine. The actual origins of the festival are disputed. Known as a Celtic holiday in honour of Eostara, the Goddess of the dawn, or that of the Germanic goddess, Ostara, the Goddess of renewal. Either way, a theme of fertility, renewal and re-birth run deep with the Maiden Goddess Moon and Father Sun returning once more.
Ostara symbolises youth and the frocking wilds of nature. Interestingly, the lexicon is closely related to the name of the hormone Eostrogen, which we associate with fertility. This is a time where nature stirs from it's slumber and the promise from Imbolc comes alive. New life returns to the Earth with force and beauty and the proverbial seeds we planted begin to rise with the new upward and expansive energy. The Earth holds a sense of purpose waiting to be transformed. This time of year reminds us to be grateful having survived the dark barren Winter and reminds us to look ahead with purpose to bring our fertile blessings into action.
In Celtic tradition, the hare was sacred to the Goddess Ostara. The nocturnal hare is associated with the moon, which dies each morning and is resurrected - representing the rebirth of Spring. The hare also represents fertility (the hare can conceive while pregnant) and this symbolism is likely developed into our Easter Bunny. Sadly, hare hunting used to be a common Easter activity, but worry not, instead I have listed some heart opening activities to lift your spirits by embracing beauty and a sense of purpose and prosperity listed below:
How to Celebrate Ostara
A great time to repurpose or recycle the old! Have a Spring clean. It is the perfect time to cleanse our body too, detoxing the physical body but also letting-go of old emotions which help us to grow with purpose.
Decorate the home in the Spring colours of yellow, greens, purples and white. I usually place some springtime flowers on my altar, like daffodils, tulips, primroses or crocuses. Who can resist a Daffodil? Spring flowers are a very clear sign that Spring has arrived!
It is a nice idea to wake up and watch the dawn - a brief balance of equilibrium before we move into growth and expansion. Honour the sun and simply ‘be’ in the moment.
Why not follow by taking some time to write your intentions for the year ahead?. Many people like to bury a raw egg along with their intentions, close to the entrance of the home to ensure abundance for the coming year. Eggs symbolise duality making them the perfect symbol for the equinox period; the balance of father sun in the yolk and the goddess moon in the white.
If you have children (or even adults) an egg hunt is usually done on this day which can be a fun way to live in the moment and celebrate duality. Hot cross buns are common snacks as they l depict the four directions (east, west, north and south), the four phases of the moon (dark, waxing, full and waning) and of course, the four seasons.
Creating a butterfly feeder is a lovely activity too. Butterflies symbolise renewal, hope and courage to embrace transformation. Making a butterfly feeder is a great way to observe the wonder of our world and given we need to be looking after our ecosystem right now, it all helps! Spend time over the coming months to observe the butterflies feeding, what will these gentle Elementals teach you?
You can watch a tutorial here https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/how-to-make-simple-butterfly-feeder.html but essentially you are hanging a plate with some shiny beaded ties which help to attract the butterflies. On top of the plate you can add some stones and a little water so the butterflies can safely land and have a drink. You might like to place a small amount of ripe fruit to provide a sugary treat; cucumber slices can help to deter wasps. You can rub a little coconut oil around the edges, it can stop ants climbing up. Like bird feeders, it its important to keep them clean so always remove old decaying matter and change the water regularly. And finally, consider the location, it is a good idea to keep the feeder away from prey, such as close by to a bird table etc.
If you prefer to take it easy, you could take a bath with some Epsom salts. They are great to wash away any stagnant emotions. Take time for a little self-care with some favourite music and get body-ready. Then why not follow with a candle ritual or some journaling. Take time to consider that this is a time of balance. What you need to be happy? What do you need less of to be happy? List those things in your journal and create some new boundaries for the year ahead. Take time to be grateful for all you have achieved and then get excited for the coming year. Forget about the barren Winter where our emotions are bare, it is time to ignite your inner fire!
How will you be using your Spring energy? What is it that you wish to grow? Candle rituals can be a nice activity for Ostara. You will need three candles, one yellow, one green and a purple one. The yellow represents the sun. The green represents the growing earth. The purple is for divine energy. Sit quietly and give thanks. Be open and from the heart, then in your mind visualise your creations in the flames and consider them manifested into desire! Then listen for signs of synchronicity to bring your manifestations into fruition.
For the witches amongst some might like to do an Ostara spell: www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUZQACH4lPM
The next day why not get out into the woodland? I love having a picnic by a sacred tree to enjoy a honey creme brûlée. Honey represents the Spring and any foods that our honey related are a nice food to enjoy at this time.You can find the recipe here: https://www.lovefood.com/recipes/59874/honey-crme-brle-recipe
It is also important to honour the bees, so why not plant lots of bee-friendly plants or make a bee watering bowl?
The Celts honoured trees as great protectors of the Earth which held nature spirits. If you find a lovely tree that calls to you, take a seat close by and simply listen. The Birch tree is one of the first trees to awaken in Spring, known as the ‘Lady of the Woods’ and sacred to the Goddess Ostara; the Celts were known for dancing through the birch trees and the twigs were traditionally used to make brooms - again signifying cleansing and ‘brushing out the old’.
Or maybe you prefer to find an Alder, who rules the woodland until the 14th April; the Alder likes its roots close to water, said to hold space between the two worlds. I often say " I honour the energy of alder for protection. I will listen to the voice of the Goddess within, so mote it be”. What do you hear? What wisdom will you take forward to Beltane?
Why not make a mandala from fallen leaves and twigs. Doing an art activity outside can help you , to develop a connection with the forests while listening to the singing birds. Spring really does hold a youthful energy. It should make you want to burst into song, just like the birds! You could ttake time to forage a few bits, wild garlic is around this time of year, as are nettles and violas, making great, pesto, soups and cake decorations, respectively. Of course, it is really important you can identify and potential food sources correctly so do your research and keep safe. During your time you might even ne offered a gift from the universe, it might be a feather, or a interesting rock so why not bring it home and place it on your altar to remind you of the lovely energy and intentions you have made this equinox and Ostara period.
In the evening why not honour the maiden in you and heal your inner child? We all have one. Think about the things that mattered to you most as a child or an activity that made you happy. Use this as your inspiration for an evening's entertainment. What about grandma's favourite recipe? An old song that reminds you of being happy and free-spirited. Either way, take some time to breathe and celebrate before your Spring plans go into full force and enjoy a good celebration!
If you have a garden then it is nice to spend time outside you could even observe the night sky. Nephelomancy is the observation of symbols in the night sky. What can you see? If that is too cold, why not cuddle up all warm and enjoy a little crystal meditation. Most often I chose to sit with rose quartz for love, aventurine for new beginnings, amethyst to connect to spirit and use citrine to bring prosperity! Either way, get a good rest and ready to be that busy and productive Spring bee!
Have a blessed Ostara everyone!