For he’s bewitched forever who has seen,
Not with his eyes but with his vision, Spring
Flow down the woods and stipple leaves with sun.
— Vita Sackville-West
I hereby call a recess from the books! For the next several days, I urge you to celebrate Ostara, dear friends! For this, too, honors and strengthens your Artist’s Recovery, since Mother Nature Herself is your truest, closest ally in this process!
Also known as Lady Day, Alban Eiler (in Druid traditions), and Eostre, this is the Vernal Equinox, when night and day stand in perfect balance. After today, in the Northern Hemisphere, the hours of daylight will surpass the hours of darkness. And for our friends who live below the Equator, the days are shorter than then night, and Autumn has begun. Blessings of Mabon to all in the lands to the South!
Spring is a time of fertility, mating, new growth, and life renewing itself. Some Craft traditions particularly call upon the Green Goddess and the Lord of the Greenwood at this Sabbat. It is also a splendid time to honor Dian y Glas, the beautiful, youthful Blue God, of the Feri tradition. Most commonly, Eostre, the Saxon Goddess of fertility, and Ostara, Her German aspect, are invoked at this time. It is also the time when Persephone returns from the Underworld, ending the grief of Her Mother, Demeter.
By whatever name you wish to call Her, the Goddess now awakens the Earth with fertility, bursting forth from Her sleep, as the young God stretches and grows to maturity. He walks the greening fields and delights in the abundance of nature.
Ostara © Helena Nelson-Reed
Ostara is when we celebrate the renewal and rebirth of Nature herself, and the promise of Summer’s lushness. 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 Goddesses of Fertility.
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 the 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.
As we discuss our creative recovery, and how to protect our tender artist selves, I encourage you to stand in the perfect balance of Light and Shadow on this most magical day. Absorb the gifts of the bountiful Earth, our luscious Mama Gaia. Know that She protects you in your endeavors, for it is She, Who has planted the seeds of Art and Longing within you.
Spend this weekend making Artists Dates, exploring in your morning pages, celebrating the renewal of life, the hope and potential that are calling to you. Stand in the sunlight today, and feel the sap rising in you; the desire stirring in you to form new, joyful beginnings.
Today is certainly the day of this; both erotic and innocent. Include your sweet young Artist self in all of your Rites of Spring this weekend. Bless the seeds that you will be planting and nurturing in the days ahead. We’ll return to the books next week.