At this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere we celebrate The Vernal or Spring Equinox which usually falls somewhere between March 19th and 23rd. This year it fall upon the 20th. Depending upon when the first full moon on or after the Equinox occurs, Christian Easter falls sometime between late-March and mid-April.
Easter gets its name from the goddess of spring and the dawn, whose name is spelled Eostre or Eastre. The origin of the word “east” comes from ancient European words for dawn that share the root origin for the word “aurora” which means ” to shine”.
“Ostara” is generally adopted as our pagan word for the Vernal Equinox.
At Ostara, we welcome the return of the spring goddess from her long season of sleep. The sap flows again, the trees are budding, the ground softens, ice melts, life bursts forth as the fragrance and colour of spring is abundant.
Because the Equinox and Easter are so close, many who celebrate Easter often see this as being synonymous with rebirth and rejuvenation: the symbolic resurrection of Christ is echoed in the awakening of the plant and animal life around us. But egg giving, fluffy bunnies, chocolate, wearing new clothes, all these things have their roots in ancient pre-Christian times.
In ancient Europe, eggs were decorated and offered as gifts to bring blessings of prosperity and abundance in the coming year. The painting and giving of eggs at Easter was also considered to be a potent symbol of fertility… spring is the season when animals begin to mate and flowers and trees pollenate and reproduce, hence women would use eggs in folk magic for fertility.
Some traditions include the faery lore of Celtic cultures. Some leave food and drink out for the fae on sacred days, so they will won’t create mischief. At Ostara, it is customary to leave something sweet -honey, mead, sweets or chocolate. The forming of chocolate into the shape of rabbits or chicks is a way to acknowledge them as symbols; by eating them, we take on their sacred characteristics, and enhance our own fertility, growth and vitality.
The association of rabbits with Easter has more than a little something to do with fertility – we all know that bunnies reproduce rapidly, and often! The Easter Bunny has its roots in the honouring of the rabbit and hare as animals sacred to the goddess Eostre.
As a goddess of spring, she presides over conception and rebirth in the animal, human, and plant kingdoms. She represents the root of all of life… our most direct connection to nature.
How to tap into this creative abundance of energy:
Ostara is an ideal time to create new beginnings in our lives: jobs, relationships, living situations, lifestyle choices. But since the Equinox is such a potent time magically, we must take care.
This is a very powerful time to do magic, not due only to the balancing of the earth’s energies at this time, but because of the way we too echo the changes around us. Just like the earth, we awaken…reborn and refreshed as we emerge from our winter sleep, ready to partake of earth’s fresh new abundance and to meet the daily challenges we will face.
All spring flowers
Colours of spring blossoms
Decorations or images of Rabbit / Moongazing Hare
Seasonal leafy green vegetables and smoothies
Spiced or Flower Cupcakes
As we celebrate spring, we think also of our brothers and sisters in the Southern Hemisphere who celebrate the opposite side of the wheel as it is autumn equinox, Mabon.
Bright Blessings to all at this special and sacred time…