The story goes like this. Ostara, the spirit of the dawn, loved little children. One day, she turned her pet bird into a hare to amuse a group of kids. The hare kept its ability to lay eggs, and on Ostara’s feast day, he would go from house to house, leaving brightly colored eggs in the nests of moss and grass crafted by little ones and left outside for him.
Though many celebrate the spring festival on the vernal equinox, Ostara’s feast day occurs on the full moon following the spring equinox, not on the equinox itself. The hare has strong associations with the moon, so he ventures out when the moon is fullest. Waiting until the full moon to celebrate Ostara is as appropriate as celebrating it on the equinox itself, and it gives you the opportunity to include any full moon observances into your celebration. Here are some ideas for celebrating Ostara and the coming spring!
Rise at Dawn
Dagaz (ᛞ) Day, Awakening
Ostara represents dawn and rebirth, and the time most sacred to her is in the early morning. Getting up at sunrise gives you the opportunity to bask in the gentle quiet of the new day, to witness the symbolic rebirth of the sun, and to listen to the birdsong that is coming back in the spring. Take a moment to sit and consider what the beginning of spring will bring into your life, and to practice gratitude for the coming abundance.
Involve some plant magic by adding Calendula petals to your breakfast tea. Those big sunny blossoms are a symbol of energy and potential, so drink it in!
Prepare Your Altar
Othala (ᛟ) Home, Goddess
If you keep an altar, morning is the perfect time to get it set up for springtime. Any spring flowers are welcome on the spring altar, including but not limited to primrose, crocus, and daffodil. Decorate in spring colors; the pale green of new leaves, and the soft pinks and yellows of sunrise. A chalice or bowl is an excellent way to symbolize the feminine power of the Goddess, better yet when the bowl or chalice is filled with blessed water. Sprouting seeds are a perfect symbol of spring, and if you have a few new seedlings for your garden, placing them on your altar is a great idea. Eggs are sacred to Ostara, so brightly decorated eggs are appropriate. If you intend to leave them on your spring altar, you may want to blow the eggs first. Here’s how. Similarly, images of rabbits or hares are also appropriate.
Bonus plant magic: Burn a sprig of Rosemary as a purifying, feminist offering.
Welcome New Beginnings
Berkano (ᛒ) Birth, Beginnings
Whether you celebrate Ostara on the spring equinox or the full moon after, you’re celebrating new beginnings. This is a good time to start new projects. Spring cleaning is a great way to start, as it gives you the chance to clean away what you no longer need from the last year in favor of things you will need in the new one. Be sure to cleanse your space in whatever way feels most meaningful to you. For smoke cleansing, our Herbal Renewal incense is perfect, with its fragrance of renewing rosemary & lavender.
For a plant magic boost, do your sweeping with heather. It has long been used to promote abundance and repel unwelcome energies, and its thin, pliable twigs have been favored as bristles for so long that its Latin name means "to sweep"! In fact, if we asked you to picture a witch's broom, you'd likely think of a besom - a bundle of twigs tied around a large stick - which was traditionally made of Heather.
Sowilo (ᛊ) Sun, Wholeness, Success
Being outdoors is an important way to welcome spring. You can take a walk and note the new flowers, the budding trees, and the birds returning. Collect flowers and other spring plants for your altar, where appropriate. Twigs from budding trees are wonderful, but be sure to harvest them responsibly and to never take too much.
If you have children, remember that Ostara loves little children, and take them with you. There’s no better way to learn about the coming spring than to witness it. Point out the subtle changes of early spring to your kids.
If you have a garden, this is a good time to start spring vegetables and flowers. Peas, radishes, and salad crops love the cool temperatures of early spring, and in most climates can be sown out of doors at this time. What a wonderful way to celebrate new life!
Incorporate some plant magic by carrying Lavender with you for luck.
Prepare a Feast
Wunjo (ᚹ) Joy, Harmony
Springtime foods abound at the Ostara feast! This includes fresh spring vegetables, like peas, fava beans, sprouts, lettuce, and asparagus. Eggs and foods made from eggs are also an excellent addition to the table, including deviled eggs, custards, and bread puddings. As the ice over lakes and on the shores of the ocean recedes, fish becomes available again, so fish is also an excellent thing to serve. Dairy products are also appropriate, since livestock offer up plentiful milk during the spring.
Add a little extra magic to your celebration by incorporating Elder flowers, a symbol of prosperity and protection. (Sipping elderflower juice tastes like being initiated into the fae realm.)