The Spring Equinox/Ostara

By: Michelle

 

 

The Spring Equinox falls between March 20th and the 22nd. This year,it falls on March 20th. To Pagans, it is also known as Ostara. However, there are other names for this holiday as well. The origin of this word is from a Germanic Goddess, Eostre {Es-toe-ray}. She is the Goddess of Spring. Early Pagans in Germanic countries celebrated the new crop seasons and planting at this time. Celtic people typically didn’t celebrate Ostara as a holiday, but they were in tune with the changing of the seasons.

 

The Spring Equinox is a time of fertility as the Earth is giving birth to life once again. We can see and smell this new life all around us as trees are sprouting new leaves and beautiful flowers are popping up among the sun’s rays. In medieval societies, the March hare was viewed as a major fertility symbol-for obvious reasons. This species of rabbit is nocturnal most of the year, but when mating season begins in March, there are bunnies everywhere all day long. Female hares can also become pregnant again while still pregnant with the first ‘batch’ of bunnies.

 

Going back now to something I previously mentioned… As I stated earlier, the Goddess Eostre is where the word Ostara came from. But it is also where the word Easter came from. There are many Pagan origins in different things including Christianity. The story of the Roman God Mithras is similar to the tale of Jesus Christ and his resurrection. His story states that he was born at the Winter Solstice, and resurrected in the Spring. He helped his followers ascend to the realm of light after death. There is also another story where Mithras was ordered by the Sun to sacrifce a white bull. Reluctantly, he obeyed but when the time came, when his knife entered the bull’s body, a miracle happened. The bull turned into the moon, and Mithras cloak became the night sky. Flowers grew where the bull’s blood fell, and stalks of grain sprouted from their tail.

 

There are Spring celebrations throughout the world. Ancient Romans who followed a Goddess named Cybele believed their Goddess had a consort who was born of a virgin birth. Sound familiar? His name was Attis. He died and was resurrected each year during the time of the Vernal equinox on the Julian calendar between March 22nd and March 25th. Around that same time, Germanic tribes honored a lunar Goddess known as Ostara, who mated with a fertility God and then gave birth to him at Yule{Winter Solstice and what I call Pagans’ Christmas}. There are different stories of celebration in other countries as well. As far as some modern celebrations go, this is a good time of year for gardening. If you grow an herb garden, start getting the soil ready for late spring plantings. Celebrate the balance of light and dark as the sun begins to tip the scales, and new growth is among us.

 

Many modern Pagans celebrate this time as a time of renewal and birth. One way to celebrate this time of year is of course by geting out in Nature. Walk in a park, lay in the grass. If you are so lucky to have a forest, take a walk through one and observe new budding life around you. Take a moment to sit down and close your eyes. Feel the Sun’s rays upon your skin. Listen to the birds chirpping around you. Feel the Earth coming alive

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *