XIV - Sabbats: Ostara

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Ostara is one of the eight Sabbats. It's around the same time as Easter, and the modern celebration of Easter has its roots in the pagan Ostara.

Ostara
- Other names: Spring Equinox, Vernal Equinox, Easter, Ēostre, Eostra.

- Date: March 19-21 (Northern Hemisphere), September 22-24 (Southern Hemisphere). The exact date depends on the year. You can find this year's date by googling "Spring Equinox [year]". You might have to add "Southern Hemisphere" if you live there.

- What is the Spring Equinox? On the Spring Equinox the Sun shines directly on the Equator, meaning that the light and dark parts of the day are equally long everywhere in the world. The light time lasts 12 hours and so does the dark.

- For some Ostara is the first day of spring, while for others it was Imbolc in February.

- At this time nature is truly waking up and growing full speed. What was started on Imbolc is now put into action, growing with the nature.

- Everything is balanced – night and day, light and dark, feminine and masculine, inner and outer. From this day on, the light time will be longer than the dark until the Autumn Equinox.

- Symbolism and meaning: actions, balance, equality, equilibrium, fertility, growth, new beginnings, rebirth, renewal, vitality.

- Fertility and growth aren't only limited to the creation of new life – they also include your body, mind, and spirit. It's a good time to start new projects and goals for all areas of life: personal, spiritual, relationships, work, education, business.

- Colors: all pastel colors, green, purple, yellow.

- Cardinal direction: East.

- Symbols: birch tree, bunnies, chicks, creation, crocuses, daffodils, eggs, feathers, flowers, hot cross buns, primroses, rabbits, seeds, sheep, the hare, violets.

- Stones: agate, amazonite, apatite, azurite, carnelian, chrysocolla, chrysoprase, citrine, hematite, jasper, lapis lazuli, rhodochrosite, serpentine, tiger's eye.

- Incense: benzoin, cinnamon, copal, dragon's blood, frankincense, jasmine, myrrh, nutmeg, oak, orange, rose, strawberry, violet.

- Herbs: alder, ash, birch, daffodil, gorse, iris, jonquil, narcissus, olive, peony, violet, woodruff, and all spring flowers.

- Foods & drinks: chocolate, dairy products, honey, honey cakes, hot cross buns, leafy green vegetables, nuts, pine seeds, pumpkin, sprouts, sunflower seeds, waffles.

- Spells recommended for Ostara: balance, cleaning, goals, moving forward, new beginnings, new projects, simplicity, success.

- Animals associated with Ostara: bunny, chicken (chick), dragon, serpent, sheep.

Ostara activities and ways to celebrate:
• Take a walk in nature and reflect on the magic of nature, and Mother Earth and her bounty.

• Start a magical herb garden – it doesn't have to be big, and you can even do it indoors.

• Bury a raw egg by the entrance of your home to ensure abundance for the forthcoming year and fertility in your garden.

• If you didn't do a spring cleaning on Imbolc, this is another opportunity. Both festivals are perfect for some cleaning and purification.

• Gather spring flowers from nature or buy some to decorate your house and bring some sunshine indoors. You can place flowers on your altar, too.

• Recycle. Give old clothes away to friends if they can re-use them. Try brainstorming ways to use them yourself! Can you make ribbons out of them to use as decoration? Can you customize them a bit to make them wearable again? If you have kids, you can even make dolls out of old clothes. Of course, you can always give them to charity.

• Collect some Ostara rain. Put a container outside and collect rainwater of Ostara – believed to be the luckiest rain of all. You can use it in various ways:
- Add the water to a bath to attract luck and joy to yourself in the coming year.
- Sprinkle into the corners of the house to attract luck and joy into your home.
- Use as a hair rinse to attract romance into your life.
- Use as a facial rinse to help delay ageing.

Sources:
"Ostara Traditions", site: wicca.com

"Ostara/Spring Equinox", site: goddessandgreenman.co.uk

"Ostara", site: greenwitch.co.uk

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