Celebrate the Awakening Earth at the Spring Equinox!
Embrace Ostara as a point of balance in your life, a moment in time where both dark and light and night and day are in harmony before the light is victorious and carries us on to the bounty of summer pleasures. Ostara is packed with rituals, spells, recipes, crafts, and customs to celebrate the awakening earth.
This delightful guidebook will help you deepen your understanding of the spiritual aspects of this ancient spring holiday, and discover new ideas for expressing that spirituality.
The following is an excerpt from Ostara: Customs, Spells & Rituals for the Rites of Spring:
The not-so-humble egg is inarguably the most pervasive symbol of the worlds spring festivals, Ostara included. Within its shell is contained all the archetypical connections humanity has ever held with life, death, and life renewed. This eternal cycle of rebirth at spring is a major theme in the spring holidays of virtually every one of the worlds religions, from the most ancient Pagan expressions of spirituality to the most modern sects of Christianity.
How did the egg--particularly the chicken egg--get appointed to this lofty position of symbolizing a universe full of new life? Like many of our modern holiday customs, the eggs place in spring spiritual rites is derived from the way our ancestors observed the natural world around them and honored their deities through these natural occurrences. With modern refrigeration, factory farming, and a fast-moving global marketplace making a variety of food abundant to us year round, its hard for us to fully comprehend that food was once a seasonal commodity that was impossible to obtain when the natural conditions allowing it to be produced were unavailable.
The eyes of a laying hen and the amount of light she receives are the components responsible for her ability to produce eggs. A hen lays eggs when the retina, the part of the eye that captures light and images, is stimulated for periods of twelve hours or more by sunlight. When that light stimulation ends, so does her laying cycle. Because fire, the only source of light for our ancestors, was not a strong enough light to fool the hens retina, there were no fresh eggs for a full six months out of every year.
Though the scientific connection between light stimulation and laying cycles would be not known for many more centuries, their laying pattern was still reliable. Hens could be counted on to begin producing fresh eggs at the spring equinox and cease producing them around the autumnal equinox, a holiday period associated with dying and death and imagery opposite that of Ostara. As the world bloomed and greened anew each Ostara, the abundance of fresh eggs made them a natural symbol of new life.
In Asia, red-colored eggs are on occasion offered at funerals and births to symbolize the natural cycles of life, death, and rebirth. In the Ukraine, eggs called krashanka sometimes dyed in shades of bright yellow are eaten to celebrate the rebirth of the sun. More elaborate eggs, called pysanky, are decorated to use as talismans of fertility, prosperity, and protection. In places as diverse as west-central Africa and the southern Appalachian Mountains of the United States, eggs are buried near cemeteries to encourage reincarnation.