OSTARA: BALANCE AND REBIRTH
Ostara or Eostre also known as Eostremonath, Easter, Ausos or Alban Eilir. It is named after Eostre, Goddess of Fertility. It is celebrated on the night of 21 March. It is the Spring Equinox, the perfect balance between day and night. It is the time when daylight and darkness have the same duration and from this night onwards we enter the brightest part of the year, when there are more and more hours of daylight.
At last, warmth comes to the earth, plants bloom, sage rises and life finds its way to the surface in search of the nourishing sun. Spring has come, it is the time of Ostara: the goddess awakens from a slumber, her feet tread the earth again and her light dispels the darkness, she is the goddess Eostre.
Although the name Ostara is used for this festival, it is more closely related to a lunar goddess and is usually celebrated the following esbat, on the full moon of the equinox.
The Ostara Festival marks the end of
winter and the beginning of the season of rebirth, spring. The Scandinavians celebrated with a blót - a sacrifice - in honour of the goddesses Frigg and Freya and the god Frey, gods associated with fertility. Today the blót is a celebratory meal and Wiccans use the term cakes and ale, which translates as cakes and beer, to celebrate it.
Ostara was understood in Norse mythology as the brightest blessing of the year, celebrating Thor's victory over the giants, the Sun over the wolves that pursued him, and summer over winter. It was the festival of renewal, rejoicing and fertility, although the forces of winter were still present and would have to wait a while for their total disappearance.
Greek mythology tells that Persephone is a young maiden abducted by Hades, the God of the Underworld. Her mother, Demeter, the goddess of Earth, is grief-stricken at the loss of her daughter, causing winter and death to come to earth. Persephone will later return to her mother, but since she had eaten six pomegranate seeds while in the Underworld, she must return to it for six months each year, during the autumn and winter months. His annual reappearance in spring brings so much joy to his mother that the Earth blossoms once more.
On this day we celebrate the restart of life after a prolonged period of darkness and cold. The warmth of spring carries away the cold giving life and strength to the earth to begin a new cycle. Today we should celebrate the joy of life and the fertility of the earth at this time.
In the old days, giving coloured eggs to friends and loved ones was a way of wishing them good wishes for the coming season, a magical ritual of prosperity and fertility. This custom has survived into the modern Easter holiday, with the typical Easter eggs and the rabbit, one of the sacred animals of the Eostre holiday.
It is an ideal time to perform rituals to bring balance into our lives. We may be looking for balance within ourselves or perhaps on the outside. We can take the opportunity to change certain habits in our lives to promote good health and harmony, such as changing our diet, a physical exercise routine, starting meditation... whatever it is that makes you feel in harmony and balance. If we don't know where to start, we can also do a small health check to find out what we need.
As we have already mentioned above, we must not forget that Eostre or Ostara is the beginning of spring where everything blossoms and fills with life. It is abundance. So this night of Eostre is a good time to perform rituals of abundance and fertility. We can plant bulbs loaded with our desires or projects, ask the Goddess for fertility.
Here are some magical correspondences of Ostara to use either in a ritual and/or to decorate the altar or the home not only on the night of celebration but throughout the spring.
- Keywords: awakening, resurgence, renewal, transformation, balance, rebirth.
- Plants: Lavender, seasonal fruit plants, all seasonal flowers, violets, honeysuckle, daffodils, lilies, Jasmine, rose, marigold.
- Herbs and resins: marjoram, sage, acorn, saffron, lily, honeysuckle, violets, nutmeg, frankincense, sandalwood, thyme.
- Essential oils: orange, sandalwood, frankincense, eucalyptus, lemon.
- Colours: Green, White, Yellow, Pink, Gold.
- Crystals: Amethyst, Rose Quartz, Aquamarine, Amazonite, Moonstone, Red Jasper.
- Typical foods: Eggs, honey cakes, first fruits of the season, seeds, leafy vegetables (salads!!!).
- Drinks: whatever you wish to make with fruits of the season!
- Deities: Eostre, Ostara (who is also connected with Ishtar and Astarte), Aries, Artemis, Ahtene, Black Isis, Astarte, Cybeles, Hecate, Luna, Mars, Minerva, and Morrigan. It is a time to venerate Cernunnos the horned god, the Lord of the Animals, our brothers and also the Green Man, lord of the forests, in order to bring about the return of greenery to the meadows and the forest, with new little animals frolicking in their pastures.
So we can decorate our altar and our home according to the time of the year we live in and thus attract the renewing energy to our home, life, work and projects.
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