Ostara

The Vernal Equinox - Typically celebrated around March 20th.

The basics of Ostara

Also Called: Ostara - in American and Celtic traditions; Alban Eiler - in Caledonii traditions.

This festival celebrates the warrior aspect of the God. It occurs in the middle of March when the length of day is equal to the length of night. It is a time of balance, the official end of winter and beginning of spring. The second of the fertility festivals, Ostara represents the seeding and preparation for the remainder of the year.

  • The season is celebrated by blessing seeds for future plantings. Eggs are colored and placed on an alter as magical talismans. The "Easter Bunny" and "Easter Baskets" are both variations of this Pagan festival. The Bunny represents abundance of planting yet to come and the baskets are used to gather the new spring flowers, another representation of fertility. After all, blossoms are a culmination of combining masculine pollen with feminine pollen. What a better representation of fertility.

  • The season is also represented by light green, lemon yellow and pale pink. The beginning colors of maturing plants and flowers.

  • Twisted bread and sweet cakes are prepared and served at dusk to represent the abundance of planting for the new harvest.

  • Ostara is the second of the Spring holidays that ring in the festivals for fertility. Not just fertility of self and body as many non-believers believe. But fertility of the earth for an abundant crop, and garden, a fertile mind for imagining new ideas and concepts; perhaps for work or home.

  • Ostara occurs in mid-March and represents the warrior aspect of the God force. This is the festival of balance. The day when the night and the day are equal in length. It is also the time when the God returns to life and balances the feminine energy of the universe with his masculine force. It is the season of courtship, when the God calls upon the Maiden Goddess and begins to win her heart. It is the season of love and learning.

On this festival a witch should review their life and find balance in it's events. If your expressions of living are unbalanced, then this is the time to ask the God force for help. If you're spending too much time at work and neglecting family or home; then pray for assistance and strength to balance your life. Many witches also use this time to renew their tools and faith. As a courtship brings in new energy to ones life, so can this Sabbat bring new energy to your faith. This is the ideal time for a witch buy a new ritual broom, or a purchase a new staff. Consecrate new tools, such as a new crystal ball, pendulum or even charge your favorite talisman. It's a good time for a new witch to conduct a naming ceremony, to acknowledge or request a ceremonial magick name.

Sabbat Symbols:
Span the light shades of green, yellow and pink for your decorations. A basket of Spring flowers, colored eggs can be added to the alter as magikally charged symbols of balance and fertility. That familiar Easter bunny can also be a symbol of fertility for the festival season as well. So don't just discard that chocolate bunny your grandma gave you. Lastly, we make small pouches as gifts for anyone who joins our circle. Inside we give seeds for the coming planting season, such as sunflowers, spring beans, potatoes and a variety of herbs.

Preparations:
Traditionally Sabbat festivals begin at sun set on the eve of the Holiday. You can use the daytime hours of this holiday eve to clean up your ritual area and set the alter. We like to use this day to bake cakes and prepare our ritual wines for the evening ceremonies. We like to symbolize the spirit of the festival in the offerings we prepare. On this holiday we bake twisted bread, cinnamon buns or sugar cookies to represent the sweetness of spring.

As for the alter, choose a special yellow candle as your center piece to represent the warrior God. Along side chose a light green candle to represent the early sprouts of the growing season. Around the circle we like to place light pink candles to represent the compassion and love of the spring season. A yellow or green table cloth covered with a vanilla colored lace is also an attractive addition on you alter or celebration table. Some witches include crystals of Amethyst to represent the balancing of yin and yang energies. A piece of Fluorite to represent the balance of the human aspect with the spiritual aspect of self. Or add a piece of Garnet or peridot, which both promote balance and patience. Gold or brass serving trays and goblets for ritual offerings are also placed on or around the alter for easy access. Along with the bridal flower arrangements you've chosen.

Festival Ritual:
There are several ways of conducting a ritual. Each witch should learn many different methods and then construct your own within the boundaries of the festival