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    The Sabbat of Ostara at the Spring Equinox

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    STAR
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    Female Scorpio Posts : 102
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    The Sabbat of Ostara at the Spring Equinox

    Post by STAR on Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:45 pm



    Ostara, sometimes known as the Wiccan Easter, takes place 20 March 2010 in the Northern Hemisphere, and 23 September 2010 in the South. Ostara is a time of growth symbolized by the Spring Hare.
    Celebrating Ostara


    Ostara is one of the four solar holidays in the Pagan Wheel of the Year. Its name comes from Eostre, the Germanic goddess associated with various aspects related to the renewal of life. Ostara is celebrated on the vernal equinox marking the beginning of spring. It is a joyous holiday centered on fertility, rebirth, and growth. Symbolically, the Goddess is reawakening with the warming ground and the young God is merry and playful.

    At this time, Christians are observing what is arguably their most important holiday, Easter, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. However, Pagan parents don't have to be apprehensive about teaching Ostara or celebrating it with their children. Everywhere we look, we see the pagan cultural remnants of Eostre's springtime festival--the symbolism of rabbits, notable for their fecundity, and the eggs, colored like rays of the returning sun. Due to the secularization of Easter, the most challenging part of celebrating Ostara may be celebrating it within a consciously Pagan context. Here are some ideas. Be sure to purchase a lot of eggs; you're going to need them.

    Create an altar
    The spring altar includes images of rabbits, birds, eggs, nests, and flowers. Colors associated with Ostara include pastel greens, pinks, blues, and yellows. If you have a nice yard or garden, you might consider creating an outdoor altar.

    Have an egg hunt
    Easter traditions are pagan, but the significance of the practices and traditions are often lost in the secularization of the holiday. Be sure to talk to your children about the symbolism of the eggs. Try to create a small ritual around your egg hunt. You can cast a simple circle together and give children seeds to scatter as offerings at the quarters. If you create an outdoor altar, hide an extra special stash of eggs there. Tell the children they've happened upon Eostre's special lair and they must leave a small offering of thanks before taking the eggs. You can use real eggs or plastic eggs filled with treats. Even if you use plastic eggs, they can be painted with Pagan symbols. After the hunt, have the children thank the Goddess and God for Their abundance.

    Color eggs
    Coloring eggs is one of the greatest childhood pleasures. You can use hard-boiled eggs or you can dye uncooked eggs and then blow out the insides. If you hollow them out and rinse them, you can keep them for show (although they'll be breakable and unsuitable for hunts). You can also use natural dyes for a more environmentally friendly approach. When painting eggs, try to keep in mind the Pagan symbolism of the occasion. Paint eggs bright yellow to symbolize the sun. A green egg with a serpent symbolizes rebirth and renewal. Use Pagan symbols--spirals, pentacles, triple moons, solar discs--and take the opportunity to reinforce your child's understanding of their meanings.

    Create egg decorations
    Create an egg mobile. Hang eggs in your trees, over windows, and children's beds. Create vases by breaking the tops off and lining them up in a decorated egg carton. Add water and fresh flowers. Use the bottom half of eggshells to hold mini tapers. Drop hot wax into the shell and press the candle into it. You can also create eggshell candles by actually pouring wax into a hollowed, clean egg then insert a wick. Set them in sand, salt, or an eggshell carton.

    Make egg rattles
    You can create egg rattles with plastic eggs by filling them with a few beans, beads, or small coins. You can also create rattles using real eggs. If you use birdseeds, your spirited child can then delight in smashing them against trees and leaving something for the birds to feast on.

    Plant new seeds
    New life is beginning to burst forth at Ostara. This is a great time to plant new seeds. You don't have to have a big, green yard. Start a small herb garden, give your child a small pot and seeds, or even a clear, plastic cup with some beans. You can also buy some flowering bulbs or a special (easy to care for) potted plant and present them to your child.

    Go outside
    Go out and look for the signs of spring. Teach your kids about trees, plants, and flowers native to your area. Visit a botanical garden. Have a picnic in the park. Notice too the natural wildlife of you area. Has winter been quiet? Are birds returning? Get a simple field guide from your bookstore or library. Learn about native species and go birding with your kids. Try to catch a sunrise.

    Have a special meal
    As we've seen, eggs feature predominantly in this Sabbat. The possibilities for egg meals are endless--omelets, scrambled, poached, hard-boiled, deviled. You can also make eggnog. Quiche is also a modern Ostara favorite. Hot cross buns are a great way to represent the Sun Wheel. Egg-shaped cookies, chocolate rabbits, and egg custards make terrific desserts.

    With other modern religious celebrations and the commercialism of Ostara, Pagans often forget that this season and its symbols are theirs too. Color some eggs, have a party, and go outside to welcome the spring, letting the Wheel of the Year carry you and your family forward.


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