Wheel of the Year

The Wheel of the Year: Ostara

The spring or vernal equinox takes place on or about March 21st and has been celebrated throughout history as a time of renewal and rebirth. This Sabbat is one of rejoicing in all life. The balance of the Earth and Sun are at one with each other again. At this time we strive for balance, to seek harmony between the male and female forces of life.

Our friends who live in the Southern Hemisphere are welcoming fall and celebrating Mabon.

Other cultural celebrations that take place on or around the Equinox include the Christian Easter, Holi or Hindu festival of color, Hogan in Japan, Nowruz or New Year on the Persian calendar, and the Jewish Passover.

Astrological Date: Sun at 0º Aries

Ostara begins in the astrological sign of Aries, the first of the Zodiacal wheel and the date of the Vernal Equinox (approximately March 21st). As the first of the Fire elements, Aries represents the initial action of the fires of creation. In the Northern Hemisphere, Ostara is the Spring fertility celebration that falls in line with the modernly practiced Easter. The fiery energy of Aries fills us up with new ideas and the possibilities of things to come.

Check for the exact date of the Sun’s transition >>HERE<<

Seasonal Focus: Balance and Planning

The Vernal Equinox is a time of equal day and equal night where the message of balance is key. Now is the time to craft new ideas and plans in our life, just as farmers are planning new gardens and sprouting seeds. As the days officially become longer than the nights, we feel the expansion of energy moving into Summer.

Correspondences

  • Altar Decorations / Symbols:  Balance, Baskets, Budding Twigs, Bunnies, A Cauldron of Spring Water, Chicks, Colored Ribbons, Eggs, Fertility, Four-Leaf Clovers, Spring Flowers, Sprouting Bulbs
  • Animals: Butterflies, Chicks, Hares, Lambs, Rabbits, Robins
  • Colors & Candles: All Pastels, Gold, Light Green & Yellow, Pale Pink, Robin’s Egg Blue
  • Crystals & Stones: Amethyst, Aquamarine, Bloodstone, Clear Quartz, Green Moss Agate, Jasper, and Red Jasper, Moonstone, Rose Quartz
  • Incense & Oils: Cedarwood, Geranium, Grapefruit, Helichrysum, Jasmine, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lime, Patchouli, Roman Chamomile, Sandalwood, Tangerine, Vetiver, Wild Orange, Ylang-Ylang
  • Herbs & Flowers: Clover, Crocus, Daffodil, Forsythia, Gorse, Honeysuckle, Iris, Jasmine, Jonquils, Lemon Balm, Lilac, Lilies, Mint, Narcissus, Peonies, Tansy, Tulips, Violet 
  • Trees: Acorn, Dogwood, Elder, Olive, Pine, Willow

Customs & Celebrations

We find that Easter customs and symbols are derived from this festive time of year (think of coloring eggs and welcoming spring). Other activities and rituals for you to celebrate Spring include:

  • Begin something new: energy is expanding outward now. Set a new goal and pour your energy into manifesting it.
  • Decorate eggs and set up an Ostara altar with the symbols of the season. Having a visual reminder of the turning of the Wheel helps ground you in your spiritual and magical practice.
  • Earth Meditation/Grounding: find a spot where the earth is bare, uncovered with concrete, plants, leaves – pure fresh soil. Sit or lie down on the Earth – feel the rhythm of Nature pulsing beneath you. It should beat in tune with your heart, pounding until you feel your whole body alive with energy. Feel the energy rise from the ground into you.
  • Establish a new rhythm for your daily routine. Now is a great time to check in with yourself and ask: Am I living my truth? How am I moving forward towards my goals? Where do I need to adjust my daily habits? Be sure to write it down!
  • Plant new life in the garden and perform a seed blessing ritual. Even if you don’t have a spot of land to call your own, now is the perfect time to refresh your kitchen herb garden. A few mason jars on the windowsill and you’re in business.
  • Prepare a family feast. Some of us may have grown up with traditional Easter feasts and now that you celebrate Ostara it should be no different. Or, if you grew up without a holiday tradition, take this time to plan a new one! Gather your loved ones for a spring feast celebration.

Foods & Recipes

Celebrate in the kitchen with seasonal foods that include: apples, asparagus, chocolates, dairy foods, egg dishes, flower dishes, fresh fruits/juices/liqueurs, ham, honey cakes, hot cross buns, jelly beans, lamb, leafy green vegetables, nuts & seeds, spiced or flower cupcakes, sprouts, sweet or honeyed wine, and unleavened bread

PERSEPHONE RISING SPRING EQUINOX POPOVERS

Tasty treats best served straight from the oven with a pat of butter and side of fresh fruit.
For 8 servings you will need:

  • 3 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tbl melted butter
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup flour

Preheat oven to 425°F. Generously butter a muffin tin or popover pan. Individual custard cups can also be used.
Mix together all ingredients except the flour, then add flour using a whisk. Beat until smooth. Fill tins or cups 1/3 full.
Bake at 425° for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350°F and bake some more (10 – 15 minutes for a muffin tin, 15-20 minutes for popover pan or custard cups). The popovers are ready when golden brown and firm.
As soon as you remove them from the oven, pierce the tops with a sharp knife to release the steam. Run a knife around the edges, pull out, and serve.

ASPARAGUS SALAD

A refreshing spring salad that is said to increase fertility, productivity, and magical potency.
You will need:

  • 1 1/2 lb. fresh asparagus tips
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbl salad oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • Salt & Pepper

Bring the asparagus to a simmer in a saucepan. Cook until tender. Drain. Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, oil, sugar, nuts, salt, and pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in the asparagus. Serve warm or chilled.

Yield: 4 servings

How do you like to celebrate the season? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

 

Resources:

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

A Kitchen Witch’s Cookbook by Patricia Telesco

Circle Round: Raising Children in Goddess Tradition by Starhawk

My personal Book of Shadows and the traditions of Clan Ravynmyst

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