What is Ostara?
After the long, dark nights of winter, we are finally seeing a glimmer of hope as the days slowly grow longer and the nights grow shorter. On the day of Ostara, the Spring Equinox, the days and nights become equal in length, achieving a perfect balance of light and dark. At this time, nature is reminding us to find balance in our own lives. Where is it too much? Where is it not enough? Ostara gives us an opportunity to reflect and reevaluate our priorities so we can be happier and more productive moving into the lighter parts of the year.
This year, the Spring Equinox technically falls on March 19 in the evening, but traditionally it is celebrated on March 21st, so anytime around these dates would be a great time to celebrate. If you live according to the cycles of nature, Ostara may be a better time than January 1st to start new resolutions. Depending on where you live, you may see nature just beginning to sprout new growth, or plants and animals may be already starting to bloom and stir with life. Your dreams and your goals you set in the dark parts of the year can now burst through the thawed ground and blossom to life as well.
Ostara is traditionally heavily focused around fertility, but this doesn’t need to be limited to the subject of babies! Fertility is about everything we create, whether it be creative projects, goals and dreams, or personal and spiritual growth; anything you can nurture and bring to fruition in your life can be considered fertility. We can also look at the fertility of nature and observe everything that is coming to life at this time.
How to Celebrate Ostara
Whenever spring comes around, I find myself motivated by the growing light and excited by ideas of opportunities for new growth in all areas of my life. I have compiled seven ideas for you to make the most of this sabbat and welcome the Spring Equinox
1. Plant Something
For all you green witches out there, the Spring Equinox is a perfect time to plant seeds in your garden! If you don’t have a garden, you can do a simple seed spell for an indoor plant:
- Choose a seed you would like to grow while thinking of an intention you would like to plant in your own life.
- Plant it in a pot with fresh soil while keeping your intention in mind. You can chant or repeat a mantra if it feels right to you.
- Nurture your plant with water and sunlight while you nurture the intention you set when planting it by taking steps to reach your goal. Now, as your plant grows, your intention will also come to life!
2. Focus on Personal Growth
Ostara is also a perfect time to start something new! While nature is coming to full bloom, you too can focus on your own growth. If you set resolutions on the new year like many of us do, now is a great time to take action. If you have creative projects you’ve been waiting to start or want to try something out of your comfort zone you’ve never done, don’t wait any longer. Something difficult or uncomfortable can be the perfect catalyst for personal growth. So take that class, start that project, or read that self-help book you’ve been meaning to read.
3. Do Some Spring Cleaning
An easy way to celebrate Ostara is by spring cleaning! You can do this even if you are a broom closet witch since many people who don’t honor the sabbats clean their homes at the beginning of spring. Cleaning physically and energetically are both great ways to move old stagnant energy out of your home and start fresh. When you declutter your home, you are literally and symbolically getting rid of old things to make room for the new.
You can make a cleansing floor wash infused with rosemary and pine needles to purify the energy while mopping the floor clean of dirt and debris. I like to sprinkle black salt on the entrances of my home at the beginning of cleaning and let it absorb negative energy, then sweep it out the door at the end, saying, “all negative energy is swept out of my home.” When you have finished all your cleaning, open the windows and smoke cleanse with sage, banishing all stagnant energy from the home.
4. Decorate Your Altar
This would be great to combine with spring cleaning, and you may want to remove your previous decorations and clear the dust and the energy from your altar space. Start by laying down a green or pastel-colored cloth. Flowers are a wonderful sign of spring and symbolize growth and blossoming. You can add them to your altar in a vase or simply by using a floral altar cloth instead.
The hare, or bunny, is a common symbol of fertility and abundance, considering the saying, "multiplying like rabbits." Add something made to look like a rabbit if your goal is reproductive fertility or monetary abundance. Eggs and butterflies symbolize rebirth and growth, thinking of a bird hatching from an egg or a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. If your goal is something like letting go of old patterns and stepping into your transformation, add the symbolism of butterflies and eggs to your altar. If you’re not comfortable with decorating real eggs, you can still avoid plastic by decorating rocks shaped like eggs, make paper mache or clay eggs, or invest in wooden or ceramic eggs to reuse every year. If you’re really feeling crafty, you can even knit or crochet your own!
Besides looking beautiful, crystals can help keep the energy of your altar space charged up. An egg-shaped crystal would especially be fitting. Or if you are keeping with the theme of fertility, you may even like to add a crystal phallus. Some of the crystals associated with Ostara include amazonite, amethyst, aquamarine, bloodstone, moonstone, moss agate, and rose quartz.
5. Perform a Ritual
Before you begin your ritual, choose a corresponding incense and or oil to diffuse in floral scents such as rose, jasmine, lavender, lilac, lotus, or ylang-ylang. One of my favorite scent combinations for welcoming the spring is lavender with rosemary. The magickal properties of rosemary include new beginnings and rebirth which is perfect for the energy of Ostara.
Next, light candles in corresponding colors, such as green for the fertile earth, yellow or gold for the sun, or a variety of pastel colors. If casting a circle is in your practice, do this as well.
If you have a plant themed oracle deck, this would be perfect to use for the ritual, but you can use any deck you have. Find a tarot layout for personal growth specific to where you would like to see growth in your life, or do a three-card spread with questions about your goals.
Finish the ritual with some simple sun salutations to welcome the sun (or a whole yoga flow if this feels right to you!).
6. Cast a Spell
There are many different kinds of spells that would be great to cast on Ostara. If you are trying to conceive, this would be an excellent time to do a fertility spell. The days and nights are equal in length so you may consider performing a spell to bring balance to all areas of your life. Another big theme of Ostara is new beginnings and starting fresh. Other spells you can do may revolve around love and connections, rebirth and renewal, creativity and motivation, or manifestation of something specific you would like to bring to life.
7. Take a Nature Walk
After a long cold winter, getting outdoors is the best feeling! Ostara is as much about the fertility of the earth as it is about our own fertility. Find a park or a trail and take some time for a nature walk. Observe the new growth of plant life and watch for animal activity, especially birds and rabbits: signs of the season.
If you have children and a large property, a fun thing to do would be to walk in your own yard and let them point out signs of spring. You could also help them make a bird feeder out of a biodegradable material such as a lemon rind or pinecone to attract the birds to your yard.
These are just some of the many ways you can honor the sabbat of Ostara! How do you plan to celebrate the Spring Equinox? Share in the comments below.Written By: Sarah Esmae Wolfe @sarahesmaewolfe
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