Mar 21 (0° Aries)
Ostara, or Lady Day is one of the four quarter days of the pagan Wheel of the Year. Many celebrate this festival on the 25th of March every year. But, if you delve back into history at all, you will know that until recently, they celebrated the festivals according to what the sun, moon and stars were doing.
Ostara is the festival of the Vernal Equinox, and was traditionally celebrated on the spring day when the day and night were equal. Mythology tells us that at the exact point of the equinox we are in a borderland time; a time that exists outside of the mundane time that happens all around us. This is the exact moment when the Sun God rises up, defeats the darkness of winter and begins his journey through the light half of the year. His power growing with the light until it peaks at the Summer Solstice in June.
Ostara is a fire festival; everything about it is fire, new life, and growth. Light and dark are in perfect balance and everything is paused for one single moment of perfect equilibrium. Then, the light grows and the scales tip towards growth. New life begins to burst forth everywhere as the light takes control and chases back the dark of winter.
The name Ostara comes from Eostre, an Anglo Saxon goddess of the dawn; spring being the dawning of the light half of the year, that correlation makes perfect sense. At this time of the year, people would make offerings of cakes and colored eggs to her.
There is a popular legend that tells of the Goddess Eostre finding a wounded bird on the ground in late winter. To save its life she transformed it into a hare, but, the transformation was not total. While the bird did indeed look like a rabbit from then on, it still laid eggs. The hare, in gratitude for its life being saved would then decorate these eggs and leave them as gifts to Eostre.
Spring is a time of great celebration. It's the time of year when the planting begins, people begin to once more enjoy the fresh air, and we can reconnect with the earth again after the long, cold winter. It’s a time of hope, and anticipation and change.
This is a time for planting new ideas. Seek harmony and balance in the incredible energy of the season, project good health, good fortune, and confidence in achieving goals.
In many cultures and societies, the egg is considered the perfect magical symbol. It is, after all, representative of new life. It is considered to be the life cycle personified. Decorating your home with colored eggs will bring this life energy to the forefront. Place them around your home, a bowl or basket of them on your altar, and include them in your Imbolc meal plans!
Plants have always been used in magic. Herbs and flowers in particular are connected with a variety of magical uses. Grow them in your garden each spring by planting bulbs in the fall, and you'll have fragrant, lovely blooms to enjoy. Now is the perfect time to pot a few seedlings, or start some seeds in small pots. It might be too cold to place them outside yet, but you can keep them on a windowsill as a daily reminder of the beginning phases of the life cycle. When summer comes you can celebrate that season by planting out your Ostara seedlings.
Bunnies, Chicks and Lambs
It's spring, so that means that every species is thinking of sex. Imbolc began the season of pregnancy which is starting to come to fruition about now for some species. Rabbits are everywhere this time of year, and baby bunnies are not far behind. Chicks are hatching and lambs are being born. It’s a time of birth, of new life, of hope and renewal. Celebrate by decorating your home with animal symbols.
Colors of the Season
Traditionally, this is a time of soft pastel shades - pale blues and purples, light yellows, and pinks. Light green is the shade of new leaves and grass, as the winter begins to weaken. Pinks and yellows are the bright spring flowers that start to appear about now. The crocuses, daffodils, forsythia and hyacinths are all starting to bloom as spring strengthens. Use pastel colors on your altar and as table cloths and towels. You can also light pastel colored candles around your home that way you have color and fire in one.
Symbols of Balance
Ostara is a time of balance. Dark and light are equal at this time of year, so balanced polarity is a big magic symbol this time of year. You can use a god and goddess statue, or a white candle and a black one, a sun and moon, or even a yin/yang symbol. If you've got a set of hanging scales, drag those out, add some eggs to it, and cover it with spring flowers and ivy as a centerpiece!