Eostre, the Pagan precursor to Easter

Eostre, the Pagan precursor to Easter

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SanzieneWheel of the Year – Ostara

By Dylan Greenley

When spring approaches, even folks who enjoy winter time usually greet the first buds of flowers and first signs of warmth with a smile. People feel enlivened when the Earth begins its cycle of regeneration. The turn to spring is celebrated by those who practice the pagan and wiccan traditions on the holiday, or sabbat, known as Ostara. Let’s learn a little more about this time of year.

Ostara falls on the Spring Equinox. The previous holiday, Imbolc, had occurred six weeks prior and celebrated the promise of life stirring within the still-cold earth. Now, Ostara is the time to begin celebrating that promise being fulfilled as we continue to experience more light and warmth.

The Spring, or Vernal, Equinox occurs between March 19 and 22nd in the Northern Hemisphere, and September 20-23 in the Southern Hemisphere. The sun is at 0 degrees Aries, and as we know, it is one of the two times in the year when there is an equal amount of dark and light. The other time of equal dark and light of course is the Autumn Equinox, occurring six months later, on the opposite spoke of the Wheel of the Year.

The word Ostara, also known as Eostre, refers to a fertility Goddess. There are different claims as to which tradition this Goddess comes from (the origins are Germanic or Norse), and how much about her has been made up by modern pagans. She does appear in the writings of the medieval scholar Bede, so we know there’s some history to her legend. No matter, the thoughts and energies she provokes are engrained in the spring lore. With her attendant symbols of eggs, chicks, lambs and rabbits, we find clear examples of how the pagan traditions continue through the secular symbology of the modern Western world.

In terms of the male energies, the young God is represented now; curious, passionate, untamed, and unimpressed with status or title. Thus, the trickster archetype runs through these times, represented in various traditions as Coyote, Raven, Brer Rabbit (prototype of Bugs Bunny), The Fool of the Tarot, and the young son of the faery King. Following this, it’s no coincidence that April Fool’s day is right after Ostara.

Any warm days can be taken advantage of to spend longer amounts of time in Nature and perform prayers and rituals outdoors. If you have a green thumb, it’s time to start preparing the soil for your spring herb garden.

Indoors on your altar, you can keep living plants, branches, seeds, colored eggs, representations of rabbits and hares, and of course anything else that seems appropriate to you. This is a good time to cleanse your living area by burning sage. Rituals can use milk and honey as symbols of the season.

As we greet this time in the Wheel of the Year when light surpasses darkness, the following are commonly used:

Herbs: Any flowers of spring. Peony, Iris, Woodruff, Violet, Gorse, Daffodil, Jonquils, Olive, Peony, Iris, Narcissus.

Incense: Any floral. Rose, Strawberry, Jasmine.

Colors: Pale purple, pale green, yellows, pink.

Stone: Jasper.

The Ostara sabbat is a time of rejuvenation. As the Earth rises from the slumber of winter, so do our spirits. This is when we do our final spring cleanings and begin to put our refreshed goals into action. We honor the regenerative powers of Mother Earth. Celebrate it as you wish with gatherings of loved ones and devotional spells, but also know that simply walking outside and appreciating the awakening earth is celebration enough as we greet Ostara.

About the author

Dylan Greenley has been studying and practicing pagan spirituality for several years, with an emphasis on Celtic traditions. He wants to disseminate solid information on the subject and hopes you have enjoyed this article and perhaps learned something new!

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Wheel-of-the-Year—Ostara&id=7140638] Wheel of the Year – Ostara

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