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Ostara Spring (Vernal) Equinox. How to Celebrate Ostara And Welcome Spring

Updated: Mar 1, 2022



Blessed Ostara, my friends!


Ostara is a beautiful Neopagan holiday, created based on the Celtic holidays that comprise the Wheel of the Year. But of course its roots go very far back in times, before the Christian Era.


Ostara is one of the two days in the year, called equinoxes, when the length of the day is equal to the length of the night. After this day, called Spring or Vernal Equinox, the days will become even longer. In many cultures, the day of the vernal equinox was considered the day of rebirth and the return of the fertility gods.


When Is Ostara?


Ostara 2022 Date: this year Ostara is celebrated on March 20th.


Ostara Altar: Correspondences & Symbols


Ostara Colors: red, white, green, paster colors

Elemental Work: Water, Fire

Candles: white, red

Ostara Flowers & Plants: Crocus, Daffodil, Lily, Hyacinth, Primrose, Daisy

Ostara Food: Milk, Fish, Bread w/ herbs and spices, baked goods, rabbit meat (*omitted from my printable.)

Ostara Drink: Herbal teas

Ostara Gods & Goddesses: Ostara, Eos, Aurora, Austra, Ishtar

Ostara Crystals: Aquamarine, Jade, Rose Quartz, Kunzite

Ostara Animals: Hare, Wolf, Stork, Lark, Dove, Lamb

Ostara Incense & Herbs: Cedarwood, Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang, Primrose, Sage

Other Ostara Ritual Attributes: Rabbits, Feathers ,Bell, Decorated Basket, Ribbons, Painted Eggs

Ostara Altar Cloth: white, light-yellow


For complete list of correspondences, Ostara rituals, recipes and Ostara Tarot spread, check out my Ostara Printable product.






History of Ostara Pagan Holiday


Ancient celts did not really celebrate Spring Equinox, this tradition appeared after the conquer by British and Germanic people in V-VI centuries.


The name Ostara was first mentioned in 1840s by the German linguist Jacob Grimm (Ludwig Karl). Although Bede the Venerable in his book «De Ratione Tmporum» relays that Ostara or Ēastre is the name for Old Germanic Goddess after which the Christian Easter was named. He was the first one to point this out.


Depending on the climate zone, it was believed that this day either finally puts an end to winter and kicks of the spring or in other areas where it is colder, it was believed that on this day spring defeats winter, but does not yet drive it away.


What Does Ostara Mean?


Ostara is an old Germanic goddess of spring and awakening of nature and Mother Earth. In old English and Germanic traditions this was the name used for the month of April (although now we celebrate Ostara around 20-22 of March).


ostara goddess
Ostara Goddess celebrates the return of fertility and spring. Image Credit: Huffpost

Ostara Goddess


I definitely want to talk about Gods more on this blog post because Ostara Goddess and her variations in different cultures are the base of this holiday.


Ostara Goddess is associated with a Sunrise. Austra is another name that comes from Baltic mythology and symbolizes "morning dawn".


Most likely, Ostara is the goddess of the earth and plants, fertility, seeds, sprouts and growth in general. with her descendance, Ostara marks the beginning of agricultural work.


Ostara has little to do with human fertility – for the most part she is associated with the fertility of Mother Earth. This can be clearly traced in the surviving Ostara rites and traditions: there are almost none associated with the fertility of people and animals, but a lot associated with plants and nature, with the return of fertility to trees and fields.


On Ostara it is customary to dedicate the day to working on yourself and your home. The ancestors avoided most heavy labour jobs on this day.


Just as on the first day of Yule, great importance was attached to what people say and do: it is recommended to avoid harsh words, conflicts and swearing.


Ostara Bunny
Ostara Bunny. Image Credit: Coco Tafoya via Unsplash

Ostara (Easter) Bunnies


With regards to the Easter bunnies, they are traditionally considered an animal dedicated to Ostara. This tradition was purely Germanic, but eventually extended to other European countries. Baked bunnies though were preceded by a spring hare hunt, a kind of competition of young men, which existed in some areas of Germany and Austria.


Ostara bunnies represent fertility.



Ostara Rituals


If we look back in history, many Ostara rituals are associated with cleansing, purification and protection.


In many traditions, vernal equinox would mark the beginning of the year, and was accompanied by numerous rites and rituals. We can see that special importance was dedicated to the red color (the color of life) or the combination of red and white colors - the colors of life and death, summer and winter.



Do you want FREE Ostara colouring pages for your little ones or even for yourself to relax while sipping on your Ostara tea? Log into the Resource Library and download a pdf file.


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Ostara - Wiccan Tradition


There is no historical data suggesting that Ancient Celts celebrated Spring or Fall Equinox (or even Solstices). However, they seemed to use Sun and Moon calendars which suggests that these point of time were known to them.


In Wiccan tradition, this is the holiday that comes after Imbolc and before Beltane. It is the day of balance and honoring the Goddess.


The holiday is associated with the beginning of spring, the awakening of the earth, the first herbs and flowers, the first sprouts in the fields and the beginning of agricultural work - depending on the climate and territory.


On Ostara, folks who practice witchcraft, held an initiation rite, during which they accepted new witches into the community. To do this, dressed in snow-white clothes and decorated with flowers, the new witch would undergo a special ritual.

 

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Importance of cleansing on Ostara


On Ostara, people and animals were first and foremost cleansed of the "filth of winter", from the breath of death, which could have touched them during the cold winter month.


The following practices were used for cleansing back then:

  • smoke (modern day "smudging" or burning of herbs);

  • jumping over the fire and fiery circles

  • pouring water, etc



How to Celebrate Ostara?


The celebration of Ostara in the modern world is accompanied by the decorations of altar dedicated to the Goddess with spring flowers and blossoming tree branches, all kinds of rituals and the preparation of special treats and foods.


During Ostara period, people tried to get as close as possible to nature, to truly merge with it, enjoying the beauty of the forests and the singing of birds that are finally coming back. The energy of this wonderful holiday has a special healing power. All those who could not spend time in nature (sick, old people, etc.), were brought home flowers and tree branches to increase their vital energy and strengthen their body.


First and foremost, we gonna clean and declutter.


Spring cleaning on Ostara
Spring cleaning on Ostara will help to get rid of stale and ill energy in the house. Image Credit: Daiga Ellaby via Unsplash


SPRING CLEANING!!


Ha-ha, sorry but spring cleaning didn't originate on its own.


Everything we do on Ostara will be connected to cleansing. Did you know that it was customary in many countries to perform snake and insect banishing rituals? This is because it was thought (and quite rightfully) that the earth opens up on Ostara and all the often unwanted little creatures start to come out. The ritual of getting rid of the unwelcomed guests started with decluttering. People would gather and burn all the clutter and garbage which was supposed to drive away insects and snakes. They would also create loud noises by hitting rocks and using copper utensils, throw around burning pieces of clothes and manure. However, it was forbidden to kill snakes or other creatures.


Now, I'm not suggesting you to burn manure. Let's just settle down on getting rid of stagnant old energy by delivering our homes of the clutter and things we are not using.


If you want to invite the fresh, bright and inspiring energy of spring, it is very important to prepare your home for it.



I have highlighted the importance of cleansing above and want to also add on the need to self-cleanse on Ostara.


Our ancestors worked with the elements of Water and Fire for cleansing. On Ostara bonfires were lit and people would jump over the fire for purification and protection. The other way to purify was with water and for that purpose, at dawn people would wash their face with water from a river.


You can replace bonfires with a simple Candle Ritual, using a herbal or black candle.


If you would like to cleanse with the Energy of Water, I have a great Cleansing Bath Ritual we did on Imbolc.


Ostara Decorations
Ostara Decorations comprise of fresh flowers, spirit animals, eggs and more. Image Credit: Elena Mozhvilo via Unsplash

Ostara Decorations


Aside from the above mentioned Ostara correspondences, you can decorate your home with tree branches that are just starting to form leaves and fresh flower compositions.


Of course, you can also add clay or porcelain rabbits, feathers, sprouted plants.


Nothing speaks of spring like fresh flowers that bring in the powerful abundance energy into space, which is now only starting to steer halfway between the solstices – Yule and Litha. So choose or collect a bouquet that you will like. Place your bouquet under the sunlight (if it's cloudy outside, visualize the sunlight filling it) and call on the Goddess Ostara to bless it with the qualities of harmony, love and new beginnings. Then place it on your altar, dining table or any place in your home that you see often and it brings you joy.


Ostara Egg Decorating


Ostara Eggs Decorations
Ostara Eggs Decorations. Image Credit: Bianca Ackermann/Unsplash

I hope I don't need to say that the tradition of dyeing eggs is pre-Christian and, in fact, very ancient. In general, the egg is one of the earliest religious symbols, because it is believed that everything that will ever be created is enclosed in it. The tradition of dyeing eggs appeared a long time ago and has a special connotation to it. If the egg is not dyed, a chicken, duckling or some other bird or lizard will hatch from it. But a dyed, unprecedented egg can already contain anything...so in theory, whatever we paint on it could potentially be there, right?


As a symbol of the Spring Equinox, the egg is a symbol of the Sun, the resurrection from the dead, the beginning (the birth of order from chaos) and the cycle of life.


Everything from the color to the drawing itself matters. There are agrarian designs which depict seeds, sprouts, leaves, etc., up to a symbolic display of the entire cycle of field work. There are funerary - where signs of wealth, abundance and contentment were drawn - the life that the deceased was supposed to receive. There are ancestral eggs, with the symbols of fertility - a way to convey to the ancestors that their descendants are alive and thriving.

Lastly, there are eggs meant to be made as an offering the the Gods. You can draw on them anything related to your God or religion.


Like I mentioned before, the ornaments and paintings on eggs were very particular and meant to offer a deeper meaning and purpose. But so did the color of the eggs.


If you don't feel like using food coloring, with the help of natural dyes (blueberries, turmeric, onion skins), the eggs can be given the necessary color.


The choice of color was of great importance, because it was the color of the egg that charged it with the necessary magical properties. Each tone was attributed its own effect.



Ostara Egg Colors Meaning


White - cleansing from illnesses, losses and negative energy.


Golden - means success in all new beginnings; material abundance.


Red - helps to reveal the potential of a person, their capabilities and talents.


Pink - gives optimism and sense of joy, improves communication skills.


Purple - helps one to strengthen family relationships.


Burgundy - offers protection from evil witchcraft work and negative energy.


Green – attracts wealth and abundance.


Orange - helps to overcome misfortunes and change luck.


Blue - helps to develop wisdom, spirituality and clairvoyance.


Brown - represents strong protection.


Silver - helps with the purification of the aura.


Black - helps to banish what no longer serves you in life.


Bake Birds, Bunnies and Eggs Shaped Cookies



Our ancestors made bird shaped cookies with children to call for the arrival of spring and birds back. If you don't like the idea of painting real eggs, you can bake egg-shaped cookies instead!


Ostara Fertility Ritual - Manifestation Bath


ostara bath ritual
Image Credit: Roberto Nickson/Unsplash

This ritual can be carried out more than once. But the first time it's best to do it on the Ostara holiday itself. It works through the power of the 4 Elements: Fire, Earth, Water and Air.


Sometimes, we are missing the energy of a particular Element, or the energy on one specific Elements is too pronounced. This creates a disbalance in the body and can even affect our physical and mental well-being and health.


With an understanding that this is a fertility ritual, understand that it does have to be literal meaning of fertility. Think of other things that represent abundance for you and work towards them. You can use my printable to find more Ostara correspondences for your celebration of Ostara.


But let's see what the general structure of this ritual is.


You will need:


  • 4 or 9 candles - Fire Element (or 1 fertility candle) Incense - Air Element Warm bath - Water Element Himalayan salt - Earth Element

  • Fertility essential oils or bath herbal bombs with fertility herbs Rose quartz crystals Other fertility crystals, see this blog post below. Check to make sure your crystal of choice is compatible with water.


Ritual scrub: 1 cup ground coffee (save your coffee pods or brewed coffee) 1 cup of sugar (I find raw or coconut sugar are best) 1/2 cup of base oil (coconut, almond, avocado) 5-10 drops of Imbolc essential oil (optional) or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


Related Posts: Top Crystals For Fertility, Pregnancy, Labor & Womb Healing. Bonus: Crystals For Newborns!


While you are filling your bath, make a magical scrub. Combine all the ingredients together and while you are relaxing in a bath, rub it into your skin.


This ritual can then go two ways, depending on your intention:


Option 1: Fertility (for pregnancy): place your crystals on sacral chakra and imagine the orange color filling the area. Visualize your pelvis becoming relax and warm. Whisper your intention.


Option 2: Fertility in the sense of manifestation of anything you want: place your crystals on your heart charka and imagine the green color. Visualize the color filling your hart area.


Imagine your intention as something that has already taken place. Visualize what your life will be like, what emotions you will experience and how everything will change for the better.


Enjoy warm water, candles and fragrances until you feel ready to get out. All worries and sorrows will be carried away by the draining water. All hopes and dreams will be concentrated in your crystals. Keep the close for some time for your intention to manifest.


*Unlike Imbolc's bath, this time we are not releasing or banishing. Ostara bath is meant to fill you up, to give your body energy and boost. For this reason, rinsing yourself is optional but not essential. You will also not be cleansing your crystals after until your intention manifests or you decide to repeat the ritual.


If you are interested in a powerful Ostara manifestation ritual, check out my printable. (coming soon)


I hope you enjoyed this blog post.


 

Have a happy and meaningful Ostara celebration. There is so much power in this wonderful holiday!







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