Oestara – around 20-22nd March is the celebration of the Spring Equinox and Midspring, the second of the three spring holidays. Oestara is about growth.
At Oestara, the seed that stirred at Imbolc pushes its head above ground. You can begin to feel spring; crocuses and daffodils are out; the cherry trees in blossom. The air smells of wet earth and flowers; earth and air begin to warm. You can make your Oestara ritual part of this burgeoning spring, celebrating Earth’s fertility and the fertility in your own life.
Oestara is a time of balance between light and dark. Night and day equally divide the 24 hours now; the dark half of the year gives way to the light. You can perform rituals to ask for balance in your life, and to honour both dark and light.
It’s a time to start new things or to consolidate beginnings. You can plant new seeds now. As the first inspiration began at Imbolc, now is the time to nurture that inspiration. Symbolic associations for Oestara include the element air, the direction east and the time of dawn.
Oestara belongs to the Maiden and her Young God. Other gods and goddesses concerned with Spring Equinox include the Greek wine-god Dionysus and his Roman counterpart Bacchus; the Greeks held Dionysia at Spring Equinox, when the new wine made the previous harvest was first drunk. On the day before the equinox, the Greeks and Romans honoured the goddess Athena and her counterpart Minerva, revered for her wisdom.
Get out in nature; walk in the park; notice which plants are sprouting, budding, blooming, or still in the grips of winter. Feel the air; smell the scents of Oestara. Clear a space in your garden for flowers, herbs or vegetables. It’s early to begin planting in earnest but you can certainly clear the ground or start seeds indoors. Pick up litter and help the earth rejuvenate.
Ritually eggs are a symbol of fertility, figured in pagan spring worship long before their appropriation by the Christian Easter. Blown eggs with patterns drawn in dye, are used by many people as amulets for fertility, prosperity and protection.
Raise energy in ritual for goals, charge your decorated eggs with that energy, then peel and eat the eggs, taking in the things you want to manifest. You can also do this with chocolate eggs!
Magic may be performed to give back to the earth the energy which we readily accept from her. Rabbits provide an obvious symbol of animal fecundity, but their popularity at Easter dates back to earlier celebrations with the Hare. Meditate on the Moon-Hare, the animal the early German tribes and the Aztecs saw on the face of the moon, and see what comes to you about literal or creative fertility in your own life. Meditate on the Yin-Yang symbol for balance in your life, or that of the Earth and the global family.
Do a ritual for the passing of the year’s dark half. Consider what you wish to release with the passing of winter. Write these issues on pieces of paper, then burn them in a cauldron or cooking pot; know that you are releasing their negativity and inviting new growth into your life. Use any colours that relate to spring; green, yellow and pink would all be suitable.
Use the energy of the time of year as you would the first quarter of the moon. You can use the energy of this time of year to fuel any new project or goal. Meditate on beginnings, on the East, on air, on dawn.
Walk in Beauty – Freespirit