Many of us know Ostara as the first day of Spring, Spring Solstice, or the Vernal Equinox. Whichever title you prefer, Ostara is a magical time ripe for setting intentions and planting seeds in all areas of our lives.
While we often think of Ostara as March 20th, Ostara is celebrated across 4 days from March 20 through March 23. This is the time when light and dark are equal in our days as we step into the period where days will become longer than nights. New life begins to take hold as a fresh cycle of fertility, growth, and development kicks off in all corners of our universe. Traditionally, Ostara is the first of the 8 sabbats comprising the Wheel of the Year and may be a modern celebration of ancient Spring rites, festivals, and ceremonies.
Ostara is also the name we use most often when referring to the Goddess of Spring. Ostara additionally goes by the names of Eostre or Eastre; when said aloud, it’s clear where ‘Easter’ draws is roots from. Commonly depicted with laurels of early blooming flowers, rabbits and hares, eggs, and pastel tones, Ostara beautifully represents this time of fertility, new beginnings, and fresh starts.
All of our rituals are unique, personal, and deeply sacred. I’ve put together ritual components to guide you in welcoming Spring and celebrating Ostara. Work with the elements that resonate with you and honor your connection to this sacred time. Whether your ritual be private or public, I wish you comfort, clarity, and celebration. The following ritual components are intended as a mix-and-match menu so you can engage in the practices that you most connect with and enjoy.
- Colors: White, Yellow, Purple, pastel tones, shades of Greens
- Flowers: Crocus, Daffodil, Jonquil, Tulip, Lily, Violet, Pussy Willow
- Herbs: Thyme, Tarragon, Lemon Balm, Red Clover, Majoram
- Crystals: Aquamarine, Rose Quartz, Moonstone
- Trees: Alder, Birch, Ash, Willow
- Foods: Eggs, Lamb, Bread, Seeds, Baby Salad Greens, Milk/Dairy, Sprouts, Flowers
In a space that will not be disturbed but is visible and accessible, begin to construct your Ostara altar. Clear the surface of all items and use a natural cleaner to ensure a fresh surface. Drape a colorful cloth, piece of fabric, or decorative paper to designate your altar space. Assemble your altar space utilizing fresh or faux eggs, figures of rabbits, candles, incense, crystals, fresh flowers, dried herbs, seeds to be planted, small plants, and images reflecting Spring. As you place each item, hold it for a moment and connect with the energy it brings to your sacred space. Intuitively place your items on your altar and move them as necessary to accommodate for additional pieces.
This altar space can be used to meditate with, engage in energy work, read tarot, journal, or simply sit quietly and reflect. Speak to your altar and let all the components know what they mean to you and why they are important. Express gratitude freely.
Your altar is an ideal space to burn incense or candles and to charge and protect your energy work tools. Tarot or oracle cards make great additions and can also contribute to the energy at hand.
Those with deeper meditation and energy work practices may find this is a particularly potent space to receive messages, connect with sacred energy, and hear one’s intuition speak. As with all sacred spaces, do guard this area with bright white protective light and ask for divine barriers from anything that may interfere with your work. Open and close your sessions in recognition of this sacred space and use a mantra, prayer, or incantation to welcome energy, call in the 4 elements, and express gratitude.
OSTARA & TAROT
If including tarot into your ritual feels appropriate, the Empress may be a good fit. The Empress reminds us of the fertility we possess physically, mentally, emotionally, and spirituality. Know that this time of planting seeds can be literal or figurative and will stir up a spectrum of emotions that can be used to perpetuate you forward towards your goals and desires.
OSTARA CANDLES & INCENSE
Candles and incense are wonderful additions to any space, altar, or ritual. The flame of a candle or smoke from incense can be a wonderful focal point for meditation while also adding to the visual aesthetic and aroma of the space.
For your Ostara altar candle, begin with a white or pastel colored candle. Chime candles can be gently rubbed with oil and rolled in dried herbs and flowers to dress them. Use a stand to burn them and be aware of any dressing that may catch fire during the burn. 7-day glass candles can have a very small amount of herbs and flowers added to the top prior to burning. Keep the wick trimmed as the candle burns and be aware of dressing that may catch fire, which could lead to glass breakage.
For your Ostara incense blend choose herbs, flowers, and resins that are pleasing and seasonal. Combine your blend with a mortar and pestle, reciting a mantra, prayer, or incantation. Using a charcoal disk on a heat-safe surface, add small amount of your blend. Know that more incense creates more smoke; best to start small and slow.
Some herbal allies for your candles and incense that correspond with Ostara include: Chamomile, Lavender, Lemongrass, Rose Petals, Rosemary, Thyme, and Copal. Let your intuition guide you as you choose your blend; there is no wrong combination when your intention is pure.
If you prefer incense cones, our Hand-Rolled Incense • Ostara are ideal for all your Ostara rituals.
NOTE: Always burn candles and incense responsibly using heat-safe surfaces in well ventilated areas. Never leave burning items alone for any amount of time. Be aware of pets and children that may be nearby.
Ostara Tea from Nor’Eastern Herb Company
INGREDIENTS: Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Lemongrass, Red Clover, and Rose Petals
DIRECTIONS: Mix all dry ingredients in equal parts or to taste. Add herbal blend to a tea filter or steeping insert. Pour boiling water over tea into a mug and cover for 5-7 minutes. Remove tea blend and press liquid from the herbs. Allow to cool. Finish with milk of choice and honey to taste. Enjoy!
MORE WAYS TO HONOR OSTARA
- Plant seeds – visit your local garden center or farm store to pick up containers, quality soil, and packets of seeds. Add the packets of seed to your altar until they are ready to be planted in the containers and with the soil you purchased. Water your seeds with clean, fresh water. Follow growing directions and share your growing energy with them. Speak to your seeds and encourage them to grow and prosper. Any harvest from them will be imbued with the energy you first began with.
- Decorate eggs – whether they be fresh or faux, decorating eggs is one of the best known traditions for this time of year. Decorate your eggs with symbols, words, dried flowers, paint, and anything that embodies the spirit of Ostara. Decorated eggs can be displayed on your altar, hard-boiled eggs can be consumed (observing food safety), and raw eggs can be planted in the ground to symbolize your intentions being sewn.
- Bake bread – using your favorite recipe or method, baking a beautiful loaf of bread is a wonderful way to watch yeast grow and transform with the purpose of providing us nourishment. Decorate your bread with seeds and herbs, form it into a seasonal shape, or garnish the finished loaf with fresh flowers and herbs. Your kitchen will smell amazing and a piece of your fresh bread will make a wonderful offering on your Ostara altar.
- Arrange flowers – whether they be home-grown, wild foraged, or from your local grocer, fresh seasonal flowers are as visually beautiful as their are emotionally uplifting. Place small vases around your home, by your entry way and on your altar to enjoy the sights and smells of your Spring blossoms.
- Take a bath or soak your feet – bathing is always a wonderful sacred ritual. Whether it is a long hot bath or a more manageable foot soak after a long day, a blend of seasonal flowers, Epsom salt, and local herbs are wonderful additions as you submerge yourself in the energy of Ostara. You can take your bathing ritual a step further and assemble a mini-altar nearby with a candle and incense for a more immersive experience.
- What seeds are you planting in your life?
- What are you helping to grow?
- What does it mean for you to nurture?
- What does your growth feel, look, smell, taste, sound like?
- How does your growth impact the people and world around you?
PAYING IT FORWARD
If charitable giving is part of your personal rituals, I ask you to consider making a donation to a rabbit rescue organization in honor of Ostara. Being that Ostara was a protector of the exceptionally fertile rabbits and often took the form of one, it only seems fitting to honor her and support animals in need. The House Rabbit Network in Woburn, MA does wonderful work and is a worthy recipient of your support. To make a donation to the House Rabbit Network, please click here.
(I do not have any affiliation with the House Rabbit Network but I do love all the adorable pictures they post online and support the rescue and recovery work they do.)
When you have completed your ritual, take a few moments to sit with the emotions, and images that came to you. Journal your experience or take notes that you can return to as Spring progresses. As you move from your sacred space drink a large glass of water and wash your hands in cool water. Express your gratitude for these moments and know you have participated in an ancient and sacred tradition.
I wish for you all a very blessed Ostara. With love and light, Kristen