The Spring Equinox: Ostara
The Goddess manifests her treasures in the material world, and Mother Earth marks this event with the emergence of plants and young animals, setting the stage once again for future harvests, both those of the physical world and those of the spiritual realm. The miracle of birth is highlighted, and the miracle that is womanhood confirmed. Within the celebration of Ostara, fertility is emphasized and celebrated. Nature’s womb, filled with the seeds of life, embellishes the earth in productivity and prosperity.
Ostara is a day when the period of light and dark are equal, heralding springtime planting and the promise of warmth returning for the summer months. Sunlight is going to reign supreme starting the very next day, second by second, minute by minute. This is also a celebration of the Saxon goddess of fertility…Eostre. Eggs and rabbits are symbols belonging to this Goddess and are incorporated into the festivities and celebrations. Sound familiar yet? It’s all about bunnies, fertile eggs, and growing things. Now’s the time to start those seedlings in egg cartons, time to start planning your herb garden, digging out those pots and diving into a bag of potting soil. Smell the earth women, get your fingernails dirty, follow that natural instinct that you know is there, the one you’ve probably been trying to ignore…Grow Things!
A noteworthy tidbit: Easter is always celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox.
(The Goddess is smiling now.)
The biggest part of Ostara for my family has always been coloring Easter Eggs (we decorate about 4 or 5 dozen– often with witches, animals, and other very un-Eastery images). The magickal nocturnal visit of the Easter Bunny is also a yearly tradition at our house, complete with pretty baskets of goodies. With seven children, putting all those baskets together, dividing all that candy, has been quite a process.
But this celebration has a deeper meaning for me, one that was made indelible upon my soul. The year was 1969, I was 12-years-old, and it was the traditional Christian Easter Sunday that my family was celebrating:
The night before, my Aunt was glowing– beautiful and striking looking at thirty-two. She was helping my sister and me color Easter eggs, finishing up by combining all the colors to get an interesting brown egg. I’ll never forget the sight of her holding the egg up in the air so we could all get a look at it, laughing out loud. This was to be the last truly happy day this woman would know for a very long time to come. The next day, her husband (my uncle) would suffer a massive heart attack and die in her arms in the foyer of their home. It was just after a beautiful Easter Sunday meal, and we were all there.
Every year since, when we color eggs for this spring celebration, I remember coloring eggs with my aunt the night before Easter Sunday 1969. It’s a crystal clear memory 44 years later. The symbolism of this holiday is brought home to me in the idea of rejuvination, resurrection, a return to life– life in the form of warmth, sunshine, growing plants, small animals, and souls.
“Everything is connected.” the goddess is telling me.
Herbs: cinquefoil, rose, violets, tansy, celandine
Altar Flowers/Herbs: honeysuckle, iris, lily, daffodil, crocus
Feast Foods: eggs, fish, honey, sweet food, leafy vegetables
Animals: chicks, hares, rabbits, swallows
Incense: honeysuckle, jasmine, lavender, lotus, magnolia, rose, violet
Rituals/Spells: planting/sowing, rejuvenation spells, consecration of tools, grounding work, Earth blessings, spring cleansing
Magickal Egg Salad
6 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. minced onion
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
Reserve 4 center egg slices for garnish, if desired. Chop remaining eggs.
Mix mayonnaise, lemon juice, onion, salt and pepper in medium bowl. Add chopped eggs and celery; mix well. Refrigerate, covered, to blend flavors.
Serve on lettuce leaves; garnish with reserved egg slices.
Honey Baked Ham
18 to 20-pound smoked ham, water added, ham hock removed
One 16-ounce box light brown sugar
1 cup (8-ounce jar) clover honey
Adjust the oven racks to accommodate a large covered roasting pan. Fit the pan with a shallow rack. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Unwrap the ham and rinse it in cold water. Place it on the rack in the roasting pan. Cover the pan with the lid and bake for half the estimated cooking time (Total cooking time is about 20 minutes per pound.) Halfway through the estimated cooking time, add the sugar and honey to a saucepan, cooking over medium heat until smooth and sugar is dissolved. Pour the mixture over the ham and continue baking the ham, basting occasionally with the drippings in the roaster.
Check for doneness at the end of the estimated cooking time by inserting a meat thermometer at a meaty point (not into fat or touching the bone). It should register 160 degrees F.
Allow the ham to stand for 15 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to set.
The Source for this blog post is my book ~
The Spiritual Feminist
Follow this link to purchase your own copy:
The Witch’s Corner
Magickal Curios & Infinite Possibilities
The Tarot Parlour
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