Yesterday was the first day of spring and the celebration of the old Germanic Goddess Ostara. She was called Eostre in Old English and the early, pre-Christian Anglo-Saxons celebrated her during the month of April. She represents fertility and the return of light in what has been a world of darkness. She is represented by fertility symbols like eggs and rabbits, flowers and seeds, and the return of fertility to the earth.
Earth Religions celebrate Ostara in many ways including honouring the coming of Spring with feasting and festivals. Baskets of coloured eggs are symbols of fertility returning. Modern times celebrate with baskets of candy eggs and symbolic chocolate Easter bunnies. Altars can be decorated with colourful flowers and symbols of yin and yang which show the equal balance of life. Ostara or Eostre is the time when night and day are finally equal again as the sun continues to move north in its seasonal journey.
For some Earth Religion practitioners, Ostara represents the Spring Maiden whom the Horned God courts and then impregnates with new life. There are many traditions which celebrate the coming of Spring from Hindus with Holi, a festival where coloured powder is thrown on the participants, to the Jewish Purim, which celebrates the saving of the Jewish people by Esther. You can read the story in the book of Esther in the Bible. There is also the celebration by the Sikhs of Hola Mohalla, which was started to celebrate the martial art skills of the Sikh peoples, and the celebration of the resurrection of the Christian Saviour, Jesus, after his crucifixion.
Most Earth and Tribal religions practised some kind of honouring of Spring and the coming of warmth, light, and the time to start thinking about planting crops. When you read many of the traditions you will see how some have blended into others as the years have gone on.
Hedgewytches celebrate the coming of Spring in many ways including getting together with friends to honour the event and beginning the process of cleaning house, getting the garden ready, buying seeds, decorating for spring and shaking off the cold and gloom of winter.
Ostara represents the Goddess in Her form of the Maiden, when she is young and beautiful, full of energy and vigour, and ready to create new life on our planet.
As we celebrate this time, bring newness and freshness to both your home and your heart. Seek to bring fresh perspective to your relationships with friends and family. Go through the old and get rid of things you don’t need. Let the Goddess guide you with wisdom and love, and help you find your way forward into a new and exciting year, where endless possibilities abound.
So, Happy Ostara to you all!