Ostara (pronounced O-STAR-ah) is one of the Wiccan Esbats, and is usually celebrated on the Vernal or Spring Equinox which occurs around September 21 in the Southern Hemisphere.
Alternate names are Oestara, Eostre’s Day, Rite of Eostre, Alban Eilir, Festival of the Trees, and Lady Day.
In the Northern Hemisphere, from which we gain our modern cultural customs, Ostara became Easter. It is traditionally associated with eggs and rabbits as they are symbols of fertility and abundance.
For those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, we can duplicate our Easter traditions at this time but there is so much more that you can do to celebrate the union of our Lord and Lady. In tune with the season of spring, we should reflect upon the renewing of ourselves – thoughts, dreams, aspirations and relationships. It is a time to ‘sow the seeds’ for all things new and to celebrate prosperity and growth.
Ideas to include in your Ostara Celebrations:
- Dye Ostara eggs together. Either hardboiled or raw – add food colouring and a teaspoon of vinegar to hot water for colouring. Traditional Easter games such as egg and spoon races are fun for the children to participate in.
- Honour the earth by collecting seasonal flowers and leaves for a celebratory centerpiece.
- Feel the sun upon your skin and the smell the scents of Spring in the air. Walk to your local park and pick up litter! Weed the gardens or any other little tasks that help keep the area looking pristine.
- Plant some seeds or seedlings.
- Light black and white candles to represent the perfect balance between light and dark and the cycle of the day.
- Meditate at dawn welcoming the Sun’s vital lifeforce into your life
Thank you to Melanie Fire Salamaner for this interesting apple tradition:
“Perform love or other divination with apples. Apples are a Northern European pagan symbol of spring and of love. To divine whether someone loves you by apple seeds, choose and eat an apple thinking of your loved one. Next, split the core and count the seeds chanting this rhyme: One I love, two I love, three I love I say, four I love with all my heart, five I cast away; six she loves, seven he loves, eight they both love; nine s/he comes, ten s/he tarries, eleven s/he courts, twelve s/he marries. To divine the first letter of your spouse-to-be’s name, twist an apple’s stem while chanting the letters of the alphabet. The letter at which the stem breaks is his or her initial.”
Below are suggestions for those who wish to call upon the deities, use crystals, incense or foods in their celebrations.
Appropriate Deities for Ostara include : Persephone, Blodeuwedd, Eostre, Aphrodite, Athena, Cybele, Gaia, Hera, Isis, Ishtar, Minerva, Venus, Robin of the Woods, the Green Man, Cernunnos, Lord of the Greenwood, The Dagda, Attis, The Great Horned God, Mithras, Odin, Thoth, Osiris, and Pan.
Appropriate Crystals include: aquamarine, rose quartz and moonstone.
Appropriate Incense (single or blends) include: jasmine, frankincense, myrrh, dragon’s blood, cinnamon, nutmeg, aloes wood, benzoin, musk, African Violet, sage, strawberry, lotus, violet flowers, orange peel or rose petals.
Foods to include in your Ostara Feast – eggs, honey cakes, seasonal fruits for your local area, fish, cheese, honey and ham. Seeds and sprouts are also appropriate.
The following chant was discovered on the Witchery website and is very appropriate to use at this time. It is by Ivo Dominguez, Jr (http://witchery.wordpress.com/2008/02/11/ostara-chants-poems-and-songs/)
Joy In The Gold Buds Of Spring.
Passion In The Greening Leaf
Joy In The Rising Day.
Passion Neath The Glowing Moon
Come Swelling Tides Of Spring.
Fill Me With The Promise Of Green
I hope that you are able to find a way to celebrate the Wheel of Life by honouring the Vernal Spring Equinox.
May you be blessed with prosperity and abundance! Namaste.
Chantrea’s Wheel of the Year – Ostara. (no date) http://thunder.prohosting.com/~cbarstow/ostara.html
Melanie Fire Salamander (2006) Beyond Eggs: Ways to Celebrate Oestara. http://www.widdershins.org/vol4iss8/03.htm