The lambs are born, the daffodils are bursting forth and the birds fill the air. The land is full of hustle and bustle and that can mean only one thing. Ostara is here!
The Spring Equinox, known as Ostara is literally one of the busiest festivals inthe wheel of the year. Just 6 weeks after Imbolc where we first saw the signs of life returning to the land. Here are Ostara everything is coming up. Nature is a’ hustling and strutting her stuff!
There is such a whirlygig of activity in the land and in the solar system at this time of year, it is not surprising if you are feeling caught up in the flurry of it all. One of the big things I have noticed throughout my years of working with the wheel of the year is that at the big solar shifts, Solsitices and Equinoxs, we humans feel it and emotionally we tend to get a bit wobbly in the build up to the shifting positions of the sun and the moon.
But Equinoxs are all about balance. And if you tune into that energy you can ride the equinox wave smoothly. And at this time the land energy is all about growth and particularily for us humans about planting our crops. Setting our plans in motion. So how can you set your plans in motion, balance and celebrate Ostara?
Well my dear you have come to the right place!
Ostara is literally one of the festivals we know most about as alot of the Ostara celebration customs have survived in the way we today celebrate Easter. There is a plethora of things you can do and so much symbology in all of these customs it would take many, many words to explain them all. (Another post for another day). So here I am going to give you a quick guide of ideas of how you can celebrate Ostara and discover for yourself the energy of the land during this season.
***Oh and one important thing (Said the faery godmother to Cinderella!) If this is your first time celebrating Ostara, or you are an old hand at this but feeling overwhelmed at the idea of celebrating all the aspects of Ostara, I would suggest picking one aspect. Balance, clearing, planting etc and focus your celebration around that one element.
Symbols of Ostara
Symbolism of Ostara: Fertility, Abundance, Clearing and cleaning, New life, Planting seeds, balance, transition, moving from the dark to the light. Integrating the shadow self.
Date of Ostara: Ostara is celebrated between the 20th , 21st and 22nd of March. You can celebrate all 3 days or focus on the actual equinox day. (Ask google. Google knows).
Symbols of Ostara: Eggs, Seeds, Daffodils, Lambs, Hares, Sunwheel,
Colors: Bright green, Yellow, Gold, Purple (I like to add blue but it is not traditional)
Foods: Everything and anything with eggs! Hot cross buns (the perfect sunwheel), honey, leafy greens, dairy foods, nuts, seeds, milk.
Herbs: Birch, Thyme, Tarragon, Lemon Balm, Red Clover, Majoram, Chamomile
Flowers: Daffodils, primroses, violets, crocuses, celendine, catkins, pussy willow in profusion. (Pretty much all early spring flowers), shamrock, dandelion
Animals: Sheep, Hare, Rabbits, Chickens
Goddesses: Ostara, Eostre, Frigg, Asase Yaa, Freya, Mother Earth, the maiden goddess
Gods: The Green Man, Adonis, Cernunnos, Narcissus, Odin, Frey
- Seed blessings and planting rituals
- Make dyed eggs (these can be made with natural dyes, traditional easter paint, or any other decorative way you can think of)
- Toss crushed eggshells into your garden (it promotes fertility, and gives your gardening soil some extra minerals and nutrients)
- Plan action steps for your goals for this wheel and get started.
- Egg rolling!
- Egg hunts.
- Spring cleaning (this is traditional at the time of Ostara all over the world).
- Chakra balancing meditation
- Working with integrating and loving your shadow self.
- Visit a farm (In Denmark we go to see the cows being let outside after the winter. They say here the cows dance!)
Ostara natural dyed eggs
- Hard-boiled eggs, room temperature (white or brown eggs, preferably not super-fresh)
- 1 cup chopped purple cabbage per cup of water
- 1 cup red onion skins per cup of water
- 1 cup yellow onion skins per cup of water
- 1 cup shredded beets per cup of water
- 2 tablespoons ground turmeric per cup of water
- 1 bag Red Zinger tea per cup of water
- White distilled vinegar (1 tablespoon per cup of strained dye)
- Liquid neutral oil, such as vegetable or grapeseed
- Saucepan with lid
- White dish
- Fine-mesh strainer
- A second saucepan or bowl
- Baking dish or other container
- Paper towels
- Gather your ingredients: You can make separate batches of different colors or one large batch of a single color. Follow the ratios given below for each ingredient to make more or less dye.
- Add water to a saucepan: Pour the amount of water you need for the dye you’re making into a saucepan.
- Start making the dye: Add the dye matter (purple cabbage, onion skins, etc.) and bring the water to a boil.
- Adjust the heat: Turn the heat down to low and simmer, covered, for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Check the color: The dye is ready when it reaches a hue a few shades darker than you want for your egg. Drip a little dye onto a white dish to check the color. When the dye is as dark as you like, remove the pan from the heat and let the dye cool to room temperature. (I put the pot on my fire escape and it cooled off in about 20 minutes.)
- Strain the dye: Pour the cooled dye through a fine-mesh strainer into another saucepan (or into a bowl then back into the original pan if that’s all you have).
- Add vinegar: Stir the vinegar into the dye — use 1 tablespoon of vinegar per cup of strained liquid.
- Pour the dye over the eggs: Arrange the room-temperature eggs in single layer in a baking dish or other container and carefully pour the cooled dye over them. Make sure the eggs are completely submerged.
- Put the eggs in the fridge: Transfer the eggs in the dye to the refrigerator and chill until the desired color is reached.
- Dry and oil the eggs: Carefully dry the eggs, and then massage in a little oil to each one. Polish with a paper towel. Store the eggs in the refrigerator until it is time to eat (or hide) them.
- 1 cup chopped purple cabbage = blue on white eggs, green on brown eggs
- 1 cup red onion skins = lavender or red /orange eggs
- 1 cup yellow onion skins = orange on white eggs, rusty red on brown eggs
- 1 cup shredded beets = pink on white eggs, maroon on brown eggs
- 2 tablespoons ground turmeric = yellow eggs
- 1 bag Red Zinger tea = lavender eggs
Understanding Ostara is part of my e-book series giving you everything you need to know about the magical seasonal festivals on the Nordic and Celtic Wheel of the Year. In these e-books you will learn the roots of the festivals and discover how you can connect with Mother Earth at each turning point of the season, through ceremony, activities & celebrations.