Ostara for Beginners

May 26, 2019

There are two times in the year that the night and day are the same length. They are the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, and Wiccans see the Spring Equinox as a time to celebrate the Sabbat of Ostara.

Ostara is the name of a Goddess of fertility, rebirth, and renewal, and her name is connected to the development of the word ‘oestrogen’, which is a hormone that plays a huge role in the female body. The idea of Ostara is that the new things that were promised to us in February at the Sabbat of Imbolc are beginning to manifest. It’s like the world itself was pregnant, and suddenly it has given birth to a future filled with light, warmth, colour, and vibrance. That connection to the ‘Earth Mother’ is where the association of Ostara with femininity and new life comes from.

In Celtic tradition, the hare is a sacred animal. It’s connected to the moon, hence all those ‘moon-gazing hare’ images that you see everywhere today, and is sacred to the Wiccan Goddess. Just as Wiccans pay close attention to the phases of the moon, the time of the Christian Easter is based on the first full moon after the 20th of March. The Goddess Ostara is also linked to rebirth and renewal, and of course those are significant themes of Easter. Once again, Christianity and Paganism cross over beautifully, and I have another example of that for you: I remember I often wondered growing up what the Easter Bunny had to do with Easter, and it turns out that it originated from the Ostara Hare!

I mentioned a bit earlier on that a lot of Wiccans look at Ostara as a birth, and that concept is also where we got the ‘Easter egg’ from! (That’s another thing I often wondered about growing up. The more you know.) If you think about it, the egg is a huge symbol of potential. When you hold an egg, you’re literally holding the potential for a new life. (But the eggs people eat aren’t fertilised, so you’re not eating potential life every time you have an omelette.) So the concept of the Easter egg developed from the Pagan appreciation of eggs at the time of Ostara.

A way to celebrate the new life and the colours of Ostara is by bringing in flowers that are found in abundance at this time. Daffodils, crocuses, and primroses are excellent choices. Other decorations you could bring in to represent the Sabbat can include moon-gazing hare statues, paintings, and prints, and painted eggshells or ceramic eggs. But if you don’t feel like decorating, you can celebrate Ostara simply by appreciating the warmth, light, and life that’s all around you at this time of year.

Have a lovely day, and blessed be.

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