The Spring Equinox, Also Known As Ostara: Its Meaning & How to Celebrate

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Eostre
Eostre | Source

The Spring Equinox is knocking on our dew-stained windows...beckoning us to remember its once mystical and spiritual existence. Unfortunately, the Spring Equinox has been close to forgotten, except by the Pagans. Many Pagans celebrate the Spring Equinox, known as Ostara, and/or the full moon following the Spring Equinox. The word Ostara is said to have originated from a lovely Anglo-Saxon, Spring goddess' name - Eostre.

I absolutely adore the word Ostara; I feel like it just bounces around inside of my mind and then rolls off of my tongue and into the world...a world that has forgotten the old beliefs and how sacred and enchanting those beliefs once were. When we take a look at the Pagan holiday Ostara, we find that many of the rituals mirror what the Christian Easter holiday entails. The Resurrection of Christ is actually calculated by figuring out the first Full Moon following the Spring Equinox, and Easter will be on the first Sunday following that Full Moon. If it so happens that the first full moon coincides with a Sunday, then Easter will be on the following Sunday. I guess Full Moons are just too "heathen-like" to actually have a Christian celebration occur on that same day. Ironically enough, where do you think the word "Easter" originates - think about where the word Ostara originates...from the Goddess named Eostre.

Ostara was first celebrated by the Anglo-Saxons, an ancient Pagan culture in England. These people celebrated Eostre, more specifically the courtship between the spring Goddess and the warrior God. Fertility and life were the two main reasons for the Ostara festivities, as well as fruitfulness (which goes along with fertility in a way, but pertains specifically to the fruits of the land and not of the womb or loins). The earth is returning to its abundant greenness and the Sun is returning to the high skies. Flowers are budding, lambs are bleating in the fields, and the whole of nature is singing in worship to the oncoming warmth and the return of mother nature. We have escaped the icy hands of the winter gods and are being held in the loving, comforting hands of the Spring's goddesses and gods.

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Still Relevant, The Original Symbols of Ostara

The Easter Bunny is an image in American holidays that is held right up on a pedestal with the likes of Santa Clause and The Tooth Fairy. But where does this Easter Bunny come from? Well, just like so many other historical Holiday icons and traditions, the Easter Bunny has been born from a Pagan belief and following. When you think of bunnies, what do you think? Cute, fluffy, hippety-hoppety...yes, all of the above. But what are bunnies also known for? That's right, folks...mating...A LOT. So it should come as no surprise that the Rabbit (or Hare) is one of Ostara's original symbols of Fertility, and it has survived the Christians' conversion plan as being one of the icons still held in tradition today.

Well, how about eggs you ask? There is a quick and simple answer to that question, as well. Eggs are another symbol for fertility...for obvious reasons. Pagans claim that Easter eggs are also a symbol of the rebirth of earth; however, Christians claim the Easter eggs for themselves. They say that the Easter eggs represent Christ's Resurrection...as an egg inevitably means new life or birth into a new life. Besides the ancient Pagans and their fertility symbolism, the "dying of eggs" tradition may have its roots in the ancient Zorastrians' ritual of painting eggs on the Spring Equinox. Painting and decorating eggs has been a common activity at various times of the year for many countries, including Ukraine, Poland, Russia, and Bulgaria. It is interesting to see how decorating of an egg has become a part of a multitude of cultures all across the world. Whether on Easter or otherwise, the painted egg is a prominent object of symbolism and life.

Another image that is widely associated with Ostara and Easter...the flower. Flowers are exactly like the egg's representation...new life. When you happen to see a field of wildflowers, or you pass by a neighbor's rose garden in the Spring, how do you feel? It makes you instantly filled with joy and somewhat sentimental, right? Flowers have that effect on people and have since the very first human met his/her first flower. Flowers are bright and they prove to us that even though there is a time for death, there will always be a time for rebirth. This Spring Equinox/Ostara, why not pick some wildflowers or flowers (whatever you can find) and place them in a vase on your table? It will remind you of the beauty of Spring and of the true meaning of Ostara (and Easter, for that matter)...new life.

An Ostara Ritual

Whether you are Christian, Pagan, Agnostic, or Buddhist...everyone must celebrate the coming of Spring in their own special way.

You might like to create your own rituals and traditions...which I have done below. Use it if you would like, but you must remember to charge it with your own personality and make it your own.

An Original Ostara Meditative Ritual:

On the day of the Spring Equinox, stand outside in your backyard or wherever is most private. Breathe in the air and remind yourself why Spring is so special and magical. Let old memories of the Springtime and Ostara or Easter rise within your mind. Holding the joyful memories of Spring in your mind -

Turn and face the direction of the Sun. Thank the Sun for its grand return to the sky and ask for its blessings upon the land. Thank Mother Nature for her return to the Earth, as well. If you have shoes on, remove them and allow the earth's energy to rise up into your feet and gradually up your legs and then through the rest of your body.

Choose the nearest tree and slowly walk over to it, still feeling the earth's energy undulating in waves throughout your body. Hold your hand out to the tree, fingers up and place your palm against the tree, as if saying hello. Let the tree's energy flow into your fingers and palm and then into your arm, slowly meeting and mixing with the energy still rising from your feet. Place your other palm against the tree, also as if greeting the tree's spirit. Let the tree's energy totally fill the top portion of your body, including your mind and heart. At this point, you will feel the earth and tree's energy meeting and combining. If you cannot feel something mundanely, feel it with your mind and spirit. Visualize the energies compiling and filling your body. This is the spirit of Spring and the soul of nature.

To end your Spring welcoming ritual, be sure that both of your feet are flat upon the ground and both palms are flat against the same tree. Imagine some of your energy and spirit flowing out from your heart chakra and into the tree. Think of your solar plexus as sending waves of your aura's energy down through your legs, through your feet and delving into the earth. This is to give some of yourself to the earth, as you have taken some of its energy in this rite.

Once more, face the Sun (don't stare directly at it), and thank the Sun for its warmth and thank the earth for its upcoming gifts to us this Spring.

After you have performed this Spring ceremony, remember the exchange of energies for the rest of the day. Remember why we love Spring and be grateful for all of the fruitfulness of the earth. If we take, we must give something in return.

Written and copyright © by Kitty the Dreamer (May Canfield), 2012. All Rights Reserved.

© 2011 Author Nicole Canfield

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24 comments

kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 2 years ago from the Ether Author

Thanks, Eddy!


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 2 years ago from Wales

A wonderful hub and voted up.

Eddy.


OllieTrolley 2 years ago

Beautiful hub! Since Ostara is coming up soon, I'm very glad I found this! My gypsy friend and I are thinking of ways to celebrate, and I really like this~! My and my friend are also going to make flower crowns, with fake flowers, and make some for friends, too. This is my first year celebrating Ostara (I just became a Wiccan this year), so I'm very excited and would like to hear more about ways to celebrate. Again, great hub! I love your Hubs a lot!


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 3 years ago from the Ether Author

Thanks, Roy.

pstraubie48 - I love Spring, minus the awful allergies I endure. LOL. I'm so glad you enjoyed this hub and it was a bit thought-provoking. Blessings to you and your angels!


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

Spirng...aaahhh...what is there not to love about it?? The beauty, the wonder, the enchantment of it brings new life to me with the emergence of all things new after the winter.

This article of yours was interesting from beginning to end and reminds me that we need to really consider: how our beliefs come to be.

To me, the information you have presented is interesting and thought provoking. I do not believe that we need to believe one or the other of these two views to be correct. It would be, to me like deciding, which really did come first, the chicken or the egg? We would need to decide how everything came to be in the very beginning to accept only one of these.

Thanks for making me think. Reading and considering something that makes me toss things around in my head and mull them over is a good thing.

Sending you Angels this middle of the nighttime :) ps


Roy Perrin profile image

Roy Perrin 5 years ago from Jacksonville, NC

To ahostagesituation. I am a Christian and have been researching the "traditional holidays" and specifically Christmas and Easter. I won't get into Christmas, but Easter is a pet peeve of mine. Jesus celebrated the Passover and the 7 days of unleavened bread immediately following. Doing the math with the understanding of the Jewish/Hebrew calendar (days start the evening prior) one would soon discover that the crucifixion was the day after the Passover and the resurrection was three full days later (Saturday evening). The bible never mentions Easter (or Christmas for that matter). The Roman Catholic Church began to include the pagan celebration into their holidays to intice more people to come to church. There is basically NO God in Easter. For Christians to celebrate it is like telling your wife she reminds you of past girlfriends.

To Kittythedreamer, Good post full of information. It should all be looked at as a way to understand our fellow humans and where their beleifs come from as a reason for what people do what they do.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

Hey, SJ! So sorry you ladies have been so slammed with preggo ma'ams! I guess spring and summertime are the times when many ladies pop 'em out! Sounds like a spa weekend with a girlfriend would do the trick for me right about now. You definitely need a vacation to RELAX...and usually "vacations" involving family members are not really vacations...they're more like "trips". June is going to be a whole month of family visits for us too. Enjoy your weekend as well and Happy Memorials' Day! :)


ahostagesituation profile image

ahostagesituation 5 years ago

Funny you should mention work, we have been getting creamed! If I can make it, my next vacation is in August, and since it is full of friends and family I don't know how much of a vacation that's really gonna be. I'm thinking of sneaking away for a girlfriends weekend with one of my best friends, I sent her a "pick a spa, homie!" text. Some things about being an adult are just plain awesome. I also have a strong male friend who is a chiropractor and I'm gonna see if I can get him to beat me up later this week. Seriously, Kitty, if you're crazy enough to pursue nursing despite my hubs, remember to pace it. When you burn out in this field, the knowledge and skill don't go anywhere, but your capacity to care the way you should starts to fizzle. One of the sweetest, kindest nurses on my unit said the other day, "if one more pregnant b**(* walks in the building, I'm gonna slap her!" She didn't do it, but you get the idea. Know your limits and take your vacations.

BUT I will get try to find more on the Spring Equinox if I can. Slipped my mind. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

Hey, don't be ashamed to be cold in 60 degree weather...I'm the EXACT same way, lady! My body just can't take the cold anymore...then again, I don't believe I should have ever lived in it in the first place!

Please let me know what you find in your research. I am very into holidays...and I understand what you mean about not saying things you're uncertain of...I tend to be the same way...unless I'm just theorizing. Hopefully work is going great for you and I hope it warms up soon. :)


ahostagesituation profile image

ahostagesituation 5 years ago

Hi back, Kitty! It is sunny! But it's a little chilly outside, and I'm being joyfully lazy today. Everyone's quick to call me on what a punk I am for colder weather. They're all like, "didn't you grow up in snow?" And I explain that I had no control of where I was born, but I got wise to it and moved. By "chilly" I mean 60's and windy. Yes, I am a punk.

I guess my question is whether the Spring Equinox had more relevance to God then just the timing of festivals. The Passover is also recognized after the Spring Equinox. I need to do some research for sure. I'm one who hates to just talk out of my butt. If I don't have decent information to back it up, I probably won't say it, and I certainly won't believe it. I gotta spend some time on it, I'm not sure. Either way, your hub is spot on and I'm very familiar with the origin of the holidays. Again, great job!


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

Hey, SJ! What sorts of questions have you been having on its spiritual relevance? Very interesting...

It's funny to know that so many of our Christian holidays as we know them today actually started out as Pagan holidays, Easter being related to the spring equinox, as written about here. I find the origins of holidays fascinating...and I keep finding more and more Pagan roots to them! Thanks for the wonderful comment, as always it's great to talk to you. :) Hope everything's sunny on your coast.


ahostagesituation profile image

ahostagesituation 5 years ago

It's funny, Kitty. Lately I've been having some questions on the Spring Equinox, specifically in its spiritual relevance. Your hub is fantastic! Dead on. When you really look at it, it seems someone has been sleeping at the Christianity wheel when it comes to the Pagan origin of so much of what is believed and practiced in mainstream Christianity. It seems more practical to embrace the truth of this. Wonderful job!


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

hi, fluffy77! so nice to meet you on hubpages. i'm glad you enjoyed this hub...i always enjoy writing about the roots of certain holidays...i've done this for christmas and also for valentine's day...though, i think you've commented on my christmas hub too! :)


Fluffy77 profile image

Fluffy77 5 years ago from Enterprise, OR

Amazing I loved it! Voted up and useful, I just love all the historic information here. Thank you so much for sharing this.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

hi deblipp - thanks so much. that's a very sweet compliment. :)


deblipp profile image

deblipp 5 years ago

Your self-created ritual is lovely.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

I love your opening lines, "...beckoning us to remember its once mystical and spiritual exsistence."

Excellent hub. Thanks for sharing.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

oh, thanks dzymslizzy! i know...it's truly remarkable how many holidays have been converted into christian holidays over the past 2 millenia. valentine's day, christmas, halloween (well they tried to make all saints day drown that one out but it didn't work!), easter, and many others. thanks for your support and i'll have to check out some of your hubs. :)


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

Wonderful hub! I am new to exploring these rites and history, and it galls me how the xians have claimed and corrupted the older, truer celebrations.

Thanks for sharing. Voted up,and danced all over the other buttons!


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

thanks, beachfinn! i didn't know that about the european hare...very interesting. do you remember dying eggs as a kid in europe?

marcoujor - so glad you enjoyed it and that it puts you in the mood for spring...one of my favorite season..next to autumn. thanks for stopping by! :)


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Voted BEAUTIFUL and UP... just charming information and puts me right in the mood for the lovely Spring season and all of its promise~~ thank you!


beachfinn 5 years ago

Excellent as always. As to the bunny, the northern Europe bunny (hare) changes it's color from white to brown around spring equinox, indicating the start of spring, hence the brown hare in scandinavian cultures :)


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

hi, alastar packer. i have not heard of a hypo-christian, but now i have to look it up! thanks for reading and im glad you found it to be correct. cant wait for the spring equinox...happy spring to you! :)


alastar packer 5 years ago

All of your assertions are correct here...fantastic hub, kittythedreamer. Agnostic-Pagan is is a perfect description for someone so inclined.Have you heard of the newly coined Hypo-Christian? The Ostara ritual is a wonderful way to celebrate and give thanks for the awakening that is Spring.

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    Author Nicole Canfield (kittythedreamer)1,893 Followers
    430 Articles

    Kitty has extensively studies the history, traditions and celebration of modern holidays. She also studies and celebrates pagan sabbats.



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