The Equinox heralds all of nature is coming alive. The Sun gains strength and the days are visibly longer and warmer. The energy is expansive, exuberant and filled with enthusiasm.
It is the first day of Spring!
At the Spring Equinox Light and Dark are in balance however light is just beginning to master the darkness. The year is now waxing and the moment has arrived for light to begin to push forward.
The quickening of life and stirrings of new beginnings promised at Imbolc become fulfilled and is evident in the abundant fertility that Ostara brings.
Ostara takes its name after the Germanic goddess, Eostre/Ostara, who was traditionally honoured in the month of April with festivals to celebrate fertility, renewal and re-birth.
It was from Eostre that the Christian celebration of Easter evolved, as well as the naming of the Eostrogen, the hormone essential to women's fertility. The Goddess Ostara has the shoulders and head of a hare.
The Symbols of Ostara are:
In Celtic tradition the Hare is sacred to many lunar Goddesses including Hecate, Freyja, Holda and Eostre. The Goddess most associated with the Hare is the Germanic Goddess Eostre who as well as having the head and shoulders of a Hare also had the ability to transform herself into a Hare. The Goddess Eostre is connected with renewal and fertility which makes her the ideal Goddess to preside over the Spring Equinox. Hares are sacred to Her, as is the full moon, since the ancients saw in it the markings the image of a hare. She is also a dawn goddess, and may also be related to the Greek Goddess of the dawn Eos.
The egg (and all seeds) contains 'all potential', filled with the promise and new life. In many traditions the egg is a symbol for the whole universe. Eggs are symbolic of the rebirth of nature, the fertility of the Earth and all creation. Eggs represent the World Egg, laid by the goddess and split open by the heat of the Sun God; "and the hatching-out of the world was celebrated each year at the Spring festival of the Sun" (Graves, The White Goddess, pp 248-9) The 'cosmic' egg contains a balance of male and female, light and dark, in the egg yolk and egg white. The golden orb of the yolk represents the Sun God enfolded by the White Goddess, a perfect balance. It is particularly appropriate to Ostara and the Spring Equinox when all is in balance for just a moment before tipping forward to an energy of growth and expansion.
Hot Cross Buns
The tradition of baking bread marked with a cross is linked to paganism. The pagan Saxons would bake cross buns at the beginning of spring in honour of the goddess Eostre - most likely being the origin of the name Easter. The cross represented the rebirth of the world after winter and the four quarters of the moon, as well as the four seasons and the wheel of life.
Makes: 12 buns
15g (1/2 oz) dried active baking yeast
1 pinch of salt
300ml (1/2 pt) milk
50g (2 oz) butter
50g (2 oz) sugar
450g (1 lb) warmed strong white bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
110g (4 oz) currants
2/3 teaspoon mixed spice
50g (2 oz) mixed peel
Prep:15min › Cook:15min › Extra time:2hr45min rising › Ready in:3hr15min
In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast, 1 pinch salt and half of the milk. Leave in a warm place until it becomes frothy.
Gently heat the rest of the milk in a small pan, then remove from the heat and add the butter and sugar.
Mix 2 teaspoons salt with flour, put into bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour the yeast mixture and milk mixture into the well.
Add currants, spice and peel and mix well, adding up to 110g (4 oz) more flour if necessary (an egg may be added if liked).
Put into a warm place and cover. Leave to rise for about 2 hours. Shape into 12 buns, place in a baking tin and leave again for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4.
Make a cross on the top of each bun. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, until golden brown.
All Spring Flowers
Daffodils, primroses, violets, crocuses, celendine, catkins, pussy willow
Why not mix some Spell Weaver Bath Salts
1 cup of salt
8 drops of myrrh oil
1/4 teaspoon powdered dragons blood
2 drops of pine oil
Ideas for your Altar
Dress your Altar in the colours of Spring, bright yellow, gold and fresh green. Decorate with an abundance of Spring flowers, Daffodils, Pussy Willow and Primrose to help attune yourself to the rising energy that surrounds you. Paint eggs in the Druidic tradition of scarlet red in honour of the Sun or cover them in designs that reflect what Spring means to you. Remember and prepare an extra egg as an offering to the earth. These can be eaten following whichever way you have chosen to celebrate and the extra egg left as an offering of thanks for the earths abundance.
*If you are burning candles, incense, oils or any other naked flame do remember that in the interests of safety they should be attended at all times!
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