Ostara is the Pagan celebration of the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. This year, Ostara falls on March 20th. The festival celebrates the end of the dark days, into the fresh, new lighter days of Spring. A common theory is that Ostara has its origins in Celtic and Saxon spring holidays in ancient times, which were then adopted by other religions such as Christianity and turned into their respective Spring-time holidays, such as Easter. Countless religions celebrate holidays during this Springtime, and especially around the time of the Equinox. Whatever your tradition, chances are that Spring is a special time of year and worthy of celebration.
Today’s post aims to share some general information, correspondences, and traditions that many (including myself) use during this special time! Feel free to write down the information for your Grimoire or Book of Shadows! So here we go!
God and Goddesses of Ostara
Depending on your personal beliefs and traditions, there are several deities associated with Spring and Ostara.
- Ostara, or Eostra, is an Anglo-Saxon goddess representing dawn. As a spring Goddess, she watches over plants and the fertility of Earth.
- The Horned God, sometimes seen as Pan, symbolizes the festive enjoyment of nature through hunting, dancing, and merriment.
- Asase Yaa is an ancient Earth Goddess from the Ashanti people of Ghana. Along with her husband, the sky God Nyame, they have come to symbolize spring. She is associated with the early planting of crops, as her consort is associated with rain.
- Cybele. This Roman mother Goddess of Rome was at the center of the Phrygian cult which performed rites in her honor. She is honored as a mother Goddess and protector of women.
- Freya, the Norse Goddess of fertility and childbearing. She is symbolized as wearing a necklace called Brisingamen, which represents the fire of the sun. She is often called upon during marriages and childbirth.
- Osiris, the famous king of Egyptian Gods. He is known for teaching humankind the secrets of farming and agriculture and bringing civilization to the world.
- Saraswati is the Hindu Goddess of the arts, wisdom, and learning. She has her own festival in India during the spring, called Saraswati Puja. She is honored with music and is often symbolized holding lotus blossoms and the Vedas.
There are many different ways to celebrate Spring. For many, the holiday has deep roots in agriculture, and as such symbols may include things relating to farming. For others, Spring symbolizes the coming of light after a long winter. Use symbols that speak to you, that remind you of the warmth and joy of Spring in your own practice.
Fertility symbols are the most popular during this time and include eggs, rabbits, flowers and seeds.
Other popular symbols are those depicting the sun, rebirth, and youth.
These symbols are often incorporated into rituals, altar decorations, and celebratory feasts and magical workings.
Ostara Altar Decoration
If you’re getting ready to decorate for Spring, or Ostara specifically, here are a few suggestions to welcome the spring equinox to your life!
Spring brings everything to bloom! Color inspiration is as close as walking outside to your garden or a local park. You will notice lots of yellows, pinks, and pale purples. Green, of course, will be in abundance everywhere. Use these colors for candles, dishes, tablecloths, and anywhere else you wish to insert color into your altar decorations.
Ostara is a time of balance between the ending dark, and the coming light. So symbols of polarity and balance are always a good addition. God and Goddess statues, white and black candles, Sun and Moon, Ying and Yang, everything in balance!
Ostara also symbolizes the coming of life and new growth. Potted plants and flowers can be used to symbolize growth and rebirth. Animals are also a popular symbol. Including chicks, lambs, and rabbits.
Other items used for altar decoration and use during this time are milk and honey, both representing fertility and abundance.
The Spring Equinox brings about the return of life from the long dark winter. Other symbols that can be used for decoration and work are common spring bugs such as caterpillars, ladybugs and bumblebees.
Ritual fires, in cauldrons or by candlelight also represent the warming of the earth and the coming of the sun.
Rituals and Celebrations
Practitioners celebrate in many ways. Some of us (such as myself) do not do ritual work at all but do celebrate the holidays in small, meaningful ways, with mini-rituals or observances. Others, go all out! Full ritual, sometimes in large gatherings or coven settings. However you celebrate, there is no right or wrong way!
Ostara Ritual for Solitary Practitioners (outside link to thoughtco.com)
Spring Rebirth Ritual (outside link to thoughtco.com)
Other Ostara Activities
- Seed blessings and indoor planting rituals (outside link to earthwitchery.com)
- Make dyed eggs (these can be made with natural dyes, traditional easter paint, or any other decorative way you can think of)
- Wear green (not just for St. Patricks’ day! )
- Toss crushed eggshells into your garden (it feeds the fairy folk, promotes fertility, and gives your gardening soil some extra minerals and nutrients)
- Magic work for helping find new paths in work, relationships and general wellbeing. Great time for working on new ideas, and seeking harmony and balance within oneself.
Ostara Traditions and Magical Beliefs
In many cultures and belief systems, the egg is considered the perfect magical symbol. It represents new life, fertility, and have been used for countless magical and ritual uses through the centuries.
In relation to Ostara, we are most familiar with the brightly colored eggs widely used during the Spring celebrations. Eggs have been painted by thousands of years in many cultures. There are legends and traditions that span the test of time. From Persia, where colorful eggs are part of the No Ruz celebrations. To Christian cultures, where the Easter egg may have marked the end of Lent in past times.
In some Native Americal creation tales, the egg is also predominant. From the cracking of a giant egg to form the universe to the stories of thunder eggs or geodes which are thrown by angry spirits from the high Pacific Northwest mountain ranges.
Chinese folklore also tells of the formation of the universe as an egg. The deity Pan Gu formed inside the egg, and in his efforts to get out, formed the sky and the earth out of the two cracked sides of the egg.
In Ukraine, Pysanka eggs were covered in wax and richly decorated to honor the sun god Dashboh, whose celebration was held during the Spring.
The stories of eggs are countless, and depending on your tradition, belief system, or cultural background you may find some interesting egg lore!
When Spring arrives, so do all the amazing flowers and greenery that begin to bloom during this time. Flowers are particularly prized in magical uses, and their uses are wide and varied. With the coming of Spring and during the celebration of Ostara, it is a good time to keep your eyes open for magical flowers to gather and plant for your magical use!
**Please remember that many flowers are highly toxic to pets and can be extremely harmful if ingested. Always practice safety when using any plant or flower indoors or where animals have access! Keep your furry familiars safe, check out the ASPCA guide to Toxic and NonToxic Plants, and always make sure to keep your pets away from ritual materials and ingredients.**
Crocus – One of the first flowers of Spring. It is associated with new love. One of its popular uses is to enhance visions and intuitive dreams.
Daffodil – These beautiful flowers are found in shades of white, yellow and sometimes orange. Associated with love and fertility, they are often used to bring prosperity and abundance. Wearing it close to your heart will draw love and luck to you. Daffodils are one of the most popular flowers for altar decorating during this time of year.
Dandelion – These little flowers, most often thought of as a weed, are one of the most useful plants for Pagan practitioners. They are used in healing, purification, and ritual cleansing. They are thought to bring about positive change, and the flowers can be used in divination to draw good energy your way. Dandelions are often associated with growth and transformation. They are also one of the first viable foods for bees, and as such, you should always let them bloom to help your animal friends! Wishing on a dandelion puff is one of the most popular ways to set a wish in motion.
Echinacea – Also called the purple coneflower, it is used to add that extra ‘something’ to charms and sachets. Used for prosperity work, it is also used as offerings to your favorite deities.
Hibiscus – The flower of passion. Used to attract love. It is also used in prophetic dreaming and carried in charms and sachets to bring love.
Hyacinth – Because this flower was named after Hyakinthos, the Greek divine hero beloved by Apollo, it is often considered the patron flower of homosexual men. Hyacinth is used to promote peaceful sleep and is said to guard against nightmares and night terrors. It can also be used to help heal grief and sadness.
Lily – Easter or Tiger Lilies are associated with fertility, rebirth, renewal, and abundance, and widely used for Springtime decorations.
Narcissus – This pretty flower helps promote harmony, it’s calming vibrations can be used in meditation for tranquility and inner peace.
Tulip – My favorite flower! They can be found in many colors and varieties, but can all be used for prosperity work. Because they come in so many colors, you can also attune their specific color correspondences for magic work. Such as the dark-colored Queen of Night for full moon rituals, or red tulips for love and relationship magic.
We all associate rabbits as strong fertility symbols (reproduce like rabbits…don’t pretend you’ve never heard it). In medieval European societies, rabbits were a major fertility symbol. Particularly a species of hare named lepus, which is nocturnal aside from mating season in March, where they are widely abundant during the day. Females can become pregnant with a second litter while still pregnant with the first (talk about fertile).
The phrase ‘mad as a March hare’ also has it’s beginnings during the spring season when rabbits and hare go a little crazy in activity and numbers.
Rabbit magical uses can be used towards a few objectives in magical Pagan work, here is a short list.
- Fertility – a no-brainer with rabbits being such a huge fertility symbol. Placing a rabbit skin under your bed is thought to bring fertility and abundance.
- Rabbit’s foot – we all know this to bring good luck!
- Talisman painted or engraved with a rabbit is said to bring boundless energy.
- Leaving small offerings of lettuce, fresh greens or shredded carrots to wind rabbits living in their yards as offerings to spring deities.
- Rabbit hair added to witch bottles, talismans and charms are helpful for protection and prosperity work.
- Rabbits can also be used as a focus in underworld meditation, as they are believed to be messengers of the underworld (because they go in and out of the ground with ease).
Other Correspondences of Ostara
Here are a few other correspondences associated with the holiday, helpful in magic work, decoration and general merriment!
Traditional foods – leafy greens, dairy foods, nuts, sunflower seeds, pine nuts.
Incense – Jasmine, Rose, Strawberry, or floral scents
Gemstones – Clear quartz crystal, rose quartz, agate, lapis lazuli, amazonite, garnet
I hope you have enjoyed this post, make sure to share share share! Thank you so much, and until next time.
Love and Light,