Also known as Lady Day or Alban Eiler (Druid), on this day, night and day stand in perfect balance. After today, the hours of daylight will surpass the hours of darkness. It is a time of fertility, mating, new growth, and life renewing itself.
Eostre, the Saxon Goddess of fertility, and Ostara, Her German aspect, are invoked at this Sabbat. It is also the time when Persephone returns from the Underworld, ending the grief of Her Mother, Demeter. Some Craft traditions worship the Green Goddess and the Lord of the Greenwood. By whatever name you wish to call Her, the Goddess now awakens the Earth with fertility, bursting forth from Her sleep, as the God stretches and grows to maturity. He walks the greening fields and delights in the abundance of nature.
Ostara is when we celebrate the arrival of Spring, the renewal and rebirth of Nature herself, and the coming lushness of Summer. The forces of masculine and feminine energy, yin and yang, are also in balance at this time. The great Goddess, again a virgin six weeks ago at Imbolc, welcomes the young Sun God to Her and conceives a child of this divine union. The child will be born nine months later, at Yule, the Winter Solstice.
Pagan customs such as the lighting of new fires at dawn for healing, renewed life, and protection of the crops still survive in parts of America as well as in Europe. Witches celebrate Ostara in many ways on this day, including lighting fires at sunrise, ringing bells, and decorating hard-boiled eggs which is an ancient Pagan custom associated with the Goddess of Fertility.
In ancient days, eggs were gathered and used for the creation of talismans and also ritually eaten. The gathering of different colored eggs from the nests of a variety of birds has given rise to two traditions still observed today – the Ostara egg hunt, and dying eggs.
The Spring Equinox is a time of new beginnings, of action, of planting seeds for future grains and projects, and of tending gardens. Spring is a time of the Earth’s renewal, a rousing of nature after the cold sleep of winter. As such, it is an ideal time to clean and freshen your home and especially your magical areas and altars, to welcome the new season. More about this lovely celebration tomorrow, which will be the first full day of Spring!