As the sun sets later and the days become longer the Spring Equinox is upon us. This time of year brings a freshness, renewed energy and enthusiasm sometimes referred to as "spring fever”. In the long ago days before television, computers and even radio, many common folk felt this energy too and celebrated this time of year. Hard working people, these folk toiled on the land, cared for their animals and crafted everyday items by hand. Being so connected to the Earth, our ancient ancestors honoured many times of year associated with the growing cycles of Nature. Would it surprise you to know, in our age of bigger, better, faster technology and the need for instant gratification, there are folks who also celebrate these peaceful times of reconnecting with Nature and community? These celebrated times are commonly known as the Wheel of Year and to some of us, the Spring Equinox is called Ostara.
Ostara, also known as Alban Eilir or Mean Earraigh to the Druids, is the mid-point of Spring in the natural year, halfway between Imbolc or Bride’s Day (February 1) and Beltane (May 1). At this position on the Wheel of the Year, darkness and light are in perfect balance with the Sun rising due East and setting due West. Ostara is celebrated as a time of renewal and conception, as the Goddess in her Maiden form and the young Lord of the Forests, who were married at Imbolc, now conceive their Sun Child.
The Vernal Equinox, and the Pagan customs associated with it bring many faces of Gods and Goddesses. A few of these deities are Brigid or Bride and Greenman of the Celtic traditions, Freya and Freyr of the Asatru and Northern or Nordic traditions, Boand and Angus Mac Og of the Druidic tradition, Ostera of the Teutonic tribes and the Welsh Faery Queen Blodeuwedd. The Lady and Lord at Ostara represent renewal, rebirth, growth, fertility and prosperity. The symbols at the Spring Equinox are the Rabbit, sacred animal to the Goddess Ostera and the Egg, representing fertility. These ancient symbols are still carried on today in the custom of giving chocolate shaped like bunnies and eggs. (Ever wonder where chocolate got it’s reputation as an aphrodisiac?)
All around us we see the renewal and rebirth of Nature in the vibrant green Moss, the fresh white Snowdrops and the tiny new buds popping out everywhere, waiting for the Sun’s kiss. We can smell the freshness in the air and feel the lifting of our spirits and, if we allow it, a renewed vigor and the urge to weed away old debris. This is the perfect time to plant new seeds for continued growth and forward movement in our lives. To do this we can bless a handful of seeds with our intent for love, good health and happiness and plant them in our gardens or into a small pot on a sunny window ledge. What matters here is not so much whether the seeds grow, although of course we hope they do, but that we have planted our intentions into Mother Earth.
May all your positive thought seeds this season grow to a ripe harvest.
Dawn is a Tarot Reader, Handfaster and Mystic-about-town residing in Nanaimo. firstname.lastname@example.org