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Ostara

Ostara

Easter gets its name from the Teutonic goddess of spring and the dawn, whose name is spelled Oestre or Eastre. The next full moon (a time of increased births) is called the Eostara and is sacred to Eostre the Saxon Lunar Goddess of fertility. Her name is also the origin of the word estrogen.

Also called: Lady Day, Alban Eiler (Druidic), Oestara, Eostra, Eos (Greek), Spring Equinox, Vernal Equinox, Summer Finding (Asatru), Naw Ruz (Persian New Year), Alban Elfed, Festival of Trees, No Ruz, Ostara, Rites of Spring. Lady Day may also refer to other goddesses (such as Venus and Aphrodite) who have festivals of their own that are celebrated at this time.

Once again, night and day stand in perfect balance, with the powers of light on the ascendancy. The God of Light now wins a victory over his twin, the god of darkness.

Ostara is a fertility festival celebrating the birth of Spring and the reawakening of life from the Earth. At the moment of the Vernal Equinox night and day stand in perfect balance, with light on the increase. The energies of Nature subtly shift from the sluggishness of Winter to the exuberant expansion of Spring. It is a time of great fertility, new growth, and newborn animals. The Goddess blankets the Earth with fertility as she bursts forth from Her Winter's sleep. The young God stretches and grows to maturity as he walks the greening fields and delights in the abundance of nature. In some traditions this is the time that the young Sun God now celebrates a sacred marriage with the young Maiden Goddess who conceives. In nine months, she will again become the Great Mother. In other traditions the sacred marriage is celebrated at Beltane.

We celebrate the renewal of life as seen by the newly emerging life in many forms all around us. A resurrection from all that looks dead is seen as the Earth regenerates and renews herself. This is symbolized in resurrection myths in many cultures and traditions.

There are many myths of the "Year Gods" (Attis, Adonis, Osiris and Dionysus) - who like Christ die and are reborn each year. These gods are always the son of a God and a mortal woman. The son is a savior who saves his people in some way, sometimes through sacrifice. He is the vegetation, dying each year (at harvest) to be reborn in the spring.

Traditionally, Ostara is a time for collecting wildflowers, walking in nature's beauty and cultivating herb gardens. This is the time to free yourself from anything in the past that is holding you back. At this time we think of renewing ourselves. We renew our thoughts, our dreams, and our aspirations. We think of renewing our relationships. This is an excellent time of year to begin anything new or to completely revitalize something. This is also an excellent month for prosperity rituals or rituals that have anything to do with growth.

The Ruling Elements

At the Equinox, we move into the element of Air, which lasts until Midsummer. The earth is moving up out of Herself, upwards into the air. She releases all the seeds buried inside her so they may start to sprout and reach up into the air in the form of plants.

At the same time, the sun is moving from the astrological sign of Pisces (Feb. 20 — March 19), a water sign, into Aries, a fire sign.

Earth is stirring under the winds of spring. The sun is leaving depressive Pisces (will winter never end?) and coming into his own. To round out the picture, check an astrological calendar to see what sign the moon is in on the day you celebrate.

Everything’s moving, changing. Yet it looks much the same outside. The snow is still high. The winds of spring blow cold and damp. But summer is coming, it’s really coming. We feel warmed by the thought, ready to burst out of our long hibernation, like the eager seeds seeking the light, like the chick stirring inside the egg.

Correspondences

iris

Date: Celebrated on or about March 20th - 21st on the date of the Vernal Equinox (a time when the sun passes the celestial equator and day and night are equal in both hemispheres). Also the day the sun enters the sign of Aries.

Activities and Rituals: planting, welcoming spring, coloring eggs, making/wearing new clothing, fertility rites, rituals of balance, herb work - magical, medicinal, cosmetic, culinary and artistic, spells for prosperity/fertility, new beginnings, potential, action

Stones/Gems: Jasper, amethyst, aquamarine, bloodstone and red jasper.

Incense: African violet, jasmine, rose, sage and strawberry

Herbs/Flowers: Honeysuckle, Iris, Peony, Violet, Woodruff, Gorse, Olive, Iris, Narcissus, Daffodils, Jonquils, Primrose, Forsythia, Crocus, all spring flowers, pine tree

Colors: Green, Yellow

Symbols & Decorations: four leaf clover, baskets, eggs, lambs, flowers, chicks, bunnies, budding twigs, flowers, pussy willows, sprouting bulbs, colored ribbons

jelly_beans

Foods: jelly eggs (jelly beans), chocolates, lamb, eggs, seeds, leafy green vegetables, spiced or flower cupcakes, fruits, hot cross buns, sprouts, honey cakes, unleavened bread

Deities: The Maiden, Astarte, Aurora, Eostre, Eos, Ostara, Kore or Persephone (as the maiden), The Green Man, Ares, Mars, Attis, Adonis, Osiris, Narcissus, Hyacinth and Dionysus

Animals: rabbits, hares, robins, dragons (associated with eggs the earth and fertility), lambs, chicks

And the Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the spirit of Love felt everywhere
And each wild flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
The snowdrop and then the violet
Arose from the ground with the warm rain wet
And their breath was mixed with sweet odour sent
From the turf, like the voice and the instrument.
Percy Bysshe Shelley

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