When is Ostara?
Spring Equinox is such a magical time – falling around March 21st in the northern hemisphere, and September 21st in the southern hemisphere, this is the time when night and day hang in equal balance.
I feel particularly drawn to celebrating the solstices and equinoxes, since these sabbats are reflections of natural phenomena. When the daylight and nighttime hours are equal, we can celebrate the balance of things, and seek balance in our own lives before the scales tip and the days grow on their way to summer.
This year, balance is something particularly important for me to find. Ironically, I’ve been so overloaded with my work lately, that I forgot about Ostara until it was upon me! The seasons and the witch’s hold days have a way of reminding us of exactly what we need.
There are many ways to celebrate this sabbat, most of which passed me by this year, but I did spend some time meditating upon the changes in the seasons, enjoying the magical rebirth of spring, and eventually, finding more balance in my own life.
Although I didn’t partake in many of these traditions, I’d like to include more of them in my practice next year to feel even more in touch with the cycles of the earth. Remember though – there’s no right or wrong way to practice your path, and whether you choose to follow these traditions or not, that’s completely up to you!
Decorate your Altar
This is one of the easiest and most common ways to commemorate the witch’s sabbats. The Spring Equinox is, of course, a celebration of spring! That means new buds, flowers, eggs – anything that represents waking up from winter and entering into new life. As this date also marks the balance of light and dark, you can also use this as a theme for your altar. I love the idea of burning a white candle and a black candle to represent this time of equilibrium. You can add these things to your existing altar, or create a special sabbat altar dedicated to Ostara.
Beneath all the ritual, my intention is always to connect back to the earth with my magick. Especially during the equinoxes and sabbats, this is what guides me and my practice. This Ostara I found myself completely present with the changes in nature. As if all of a sudden, the trees had all come into leaf, an explosion of colour speckled my town in the form of new spring flowers, animals were performing their mating rituals. Everything was waking up. While I didn’t set aside specific time to meditate on these things (which can be wonderful too!) I did feel deeply connected to the earth while touching the new leaves of a plane tree, and marveling at the volunteer poppies springing up in my garden.
Food is so often a central part of these celebrations, and bread is an oft-practiced tradition. Many times, the bread will include special ingredients particular to each sabbat and these are always seasonal to maintain that connection with the earth. For Imbolc I had baked a dandelion biscuits, and had planned to bake a poppy-seed loaf for Ostara. Unfortunately, this fell by the wayside along with my other ritual plans, but I may still bake a belated loaf from poppy seeds gathered last spring.
This is my favourite Spring Equinox tradition, and one I’m so happy I took part in this year! As a time of rebirth and new growth, Ostara is the perfect time for planting. There’s great power in collaborating with the earth to create new life, and I planted some lamb’s lettuce and tomatoes, as well as transplanting a pear tree that was outgrowing its old home. Having my hands in the earth is such a healing and connecting experience, and this ritual can be expanded to involve the planting of intentions for the coming season.
If you want to take part in this ritual, write your intentions on a piece of paper, and bury them while visualising them coming to fruition. If you like, plant a seed on top, and speak your intentions out loud while keeping that vision in mind, and watering the earth where you planted the paper and seed. If it’s a place you can revisit, come back to water it regularly, recasting the spell each time with the spoken incantation and the visualisation.
Whichever way you choose to celebrate this sabbat, it’s a time to appreciate the shifting seasons and the balance of life.