Ostara - Spring Equinox
Ostara: Oestre, Easter, the Spring Equinox, Vernal (Spring) Equinox, Alban Eiler (Caledonii).
March 20 - 23 Northern Hemisphere / September 20 - 23 Southern Hemisphere
(Traditionally March 21st)
The Spring Equinox is the point of equilibrium - and it celebrates the arrival of Spring, when light and darkness are in balance but the light is growing stronger. The forces of male and female are also in balance.
Traditions of Vernal Equinox may include....
~ Go to a field and randomly collect wildflowers (thank the flowers for their sacrifice before picking them). Or, buy some from a florist, taking one or two of those that appeal to you. Then bring them home and divine their Magickal meanings by the use of books, your own intuition, a pendulum or by other means. The flowers you've chosen reveal your inner thoughts and emotions.
~ Cultivating herb gardens. This is the time to free yourself from anything in the past that is holding you back.
Its not a coincidence that the names sounds similar to the word 'Easter'. Eostre, or Ostara, is an Anglo-Saxon Dawn Goddess whose symbols are the egg and the hare. She, in turn, is the European version of the Goddess Ishtar or Astarte, whose worship dates back thousands of years and is certainly pre-Christian. Eostre also lives on in our medical language in the words 'oestrous' (the sexual impulse in female animals) and 'oestrogen' (a female hormone). Today, Oestara is celebrated as a spring festival. Although the Goddess put on the robes of Maiden at Imbolg, here she is seen as truly embodying the spirit of spring. By this time we can see all around us the awakened land, the leaves on the trees, the flowers and the first shoots of corn.
Oestara is also the Spring Equinox, a time of balance when day and night are equal. As with the other Equinox and the Solstices, the date of this festival may move slightly from year to year, but many will choose to celebrate it on 21 March. In keeping with the balance of the Equinox, Oestara is a time when we seek balance within ourselves. It is a time for throwing out the old and taking on the new. We rid ourselves of those things which are no longer necessary - old habits, thoughts and feelings - and take on new ideas and thoughts. This does not mean that you use this festival as a time for berating yourself about your 'bad' points, but rather that you should seek to find a balance through which you can accept yourself for what you are.
Its unknow as to whether Oestara or Imbolg was the traditional time of spring cleaning, but certainly the fresh brightening would go with the spirit of this festival and the increased daylight at this time encourages a good clean out around the home.