Celebrating Ostara / Spring Equinox
As a green witch, I celebrate and honor all seasonal changes, but I'm particularly fond of the two equinoxes (spring and fall). I'm a multi-passionate entrepreneur with a full-time day job, which means I'm constantly juggling many responsibilities. So a time to take a step back, reflect on my life, and seek balance — even if just for a moment — is very welcome. And the spring and fall equinoxes are the perfect time to do this.
In pagan or earth-centered traditions, the spring equinox is also called Ostara or Eostre, after the Germanic Lunar Goddess of fertility, whose two symbols were eggs and rabbits. This is where the traditions of painting (and often burying) eggs and celebrating bunnies originate from — they are both strong symbols of fertility, birth, and rebirth. Ostara is when the sun truly feels as if it's coming back to us — the first daffodils and tulips begin to break through the frozen ground and farmers plant seeds for summer harvest.
I celebrate Ostara a little differently every year, depending on the weather. Here are some of the ways I like to honor this day:
Photo by Markus Spiske via Unsplash.
1. Plant seeds. I must admit, I don't have much of a green thumb, but I'm working on that! This year, we are starting with an indoor herb garden. Support locally grown by asking your local farmers for seeds or buy from Seed Savers.
2. Take a nature walk or hike. Just walk for walking's sake. Breathe in the fresh air, appreciate the trees, shrubs, and other plants around you, and thank Mother Earth for her riches. (I love this photo of Dave marveling at the tall Redwoods in Muir Woods two years ago). If you can't take a walk or it's too cold, just step outside briefly and take a deep breath of clean air. Or look at the outside world through your window. Or close your eyes and imagine walking through a forest. Or belt out "Colors of the Wind" from Pocahontas!
Photo via Good Housekeeping.
3. Dye eggs (naturally!) and bury them. Eggs are a symbol of fertility, new beginnings, potential, and growth so of course they're associated with Ostara/Easter and the true start of Spring, when the earth is coming back into bloom. Dye your eggs with food and spices (this is a great reference article). Pro tip - use white crayons to draw designs on your eggs before you dye them! Once dyed, let sit to dry, then hold one in your hands and think of what you'd like to manifest this year. I like to light a candle while I'm doing this. Kiss your egg for good luck, then bury it at least 6 inches in the ground in your backyard.
4. Decorate with flowers. Pick some flowers (if you can) or buy some from a local florist and put them all over your home — your kitchen, living room, bedroom, office, your altar (if you have one) — and even at work. If you live up north like I do, winter can be a real downer, but now's the time for flowers to begin to bloom! I always feel like I'm enticing them to grow by surrounding myself with bouquets.
5. Spring cleaning! Get rid of things that no longer serve you, things that have been collecting dust for a while. Donate old clothes to local consignment or thrift shops or online (I'm a big fan of ThredUp).
6. Spring clean your mind, too. Clear your mind of bad energy with this simple cleansing ritual for banishing negativity.
7. Pay tribute to Ostara/Eostre, Mother Earth, and Father Sun. On the day of the spring equinox (and usually for many weeks/months afterwards), I decorate my altar with flowers and petals, light-colored candles (especially if you have floral-scented ones!), and light-colored gemstones like aventurine (luck/healing), amazonite (balances emotions), jade (luck, purity, serenity, longevity), moonstone ("woman's healing stone," associated with the moon and fertility), clear quartz (healing, focusing), rose quartz (self-love and love of others), turquoise (wisdom, protection, power). When choosing stones, think of what you would like to manifest for the rest of the year.
I lay all these objects on my altar, light my candles, light my goddess candle, and hold a single flower or candle in my hand. I say:
I thank thee Ostara, mother of mothers,
for helping me through this cold dark winter.
Please shed your light and power of rebirth onto this earth.
I promise to honor thee and be a source of light in my own life.
Mother Earth, I promise to honor thee by treading softly in your forests,
planting new growth in your dirt,
and being kind to all of your creatures.
Father Sun, please send your rays to warm us once again,
and I promise to walk the earth with warmth and light in my heart.
Have a blessed Ostara!