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Ostara (also known as Eostre, a Teutonic Earth Goddess) is the beginning of the agricultural year. It is time for the Earth to "spring" into action and for us to initiate and celebrate new beginnings. One of the most universal symbols of this sabbat is the planting of seeds and the sprouting of new life from the womb of the Earth Mother. The Vernal or Spring Equinox marks the beginning of the 'light' half of the year, when day gradually becomes longer than night. From now until Autumn, the power of the Goddess dominates our festivities bringing light, warmth and fertility to the earth. The courtship of the God and Goddess commences with this sabbat and this is an appropriate time to focus on the balance of male and female energies within ourselves.
The word "Easter" is derived from the word "Eostre" and the symbols used to celebrate Easter have pre-Christian origins. The Easter bunny reminds us of the hare, the animal most sacred to the Goddess Diana and the eggs that the hare brings symbolize new beginnings, rebirth, continuity and growth. Have you ever wondered why Easter changes dates and months from year to year? Interestingly it is always the first Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring Equinox!
Some folk customs associated with Ostara are: spring cleaning (new beginnings); sunrise observances (to celebrate the growing light of the sun); sowing and planting done ceremonially; ashes from the Ostara eve bonfire mixed with the planting seed as a fertility charm; eating of cake and cider in the planting fields, burying a piece of the cake then pouring a cider libation to show the earth what it is expected to produce; moon cakes which are round cakes marked on top by a cross dividing it into quarters or 'farls' symbolizing the quarters of the moon and the four elements - they are the original hot cross buns; tree planting. Have fun with your traditions!
Eggs are probably the most popular symbol of this sacred time. Since eggs symbolize so well the ideas of newness, creation, potential and growth, why not make a Magick Egg to contain the energies of your hopes and wishes for the coming season? Take a fresh raw egg (do not boil it!) and dye it the appropriate color for your wishes: Green for growth, prosperity or healing; Red or Pink for love and marriage; Purple for spiritual growth and psychic development; Yellow for new beginnings and successful studies; Blue for peace and serenity; Orange for power and energy. With a straight pin, poke a hole in each end of the egg, place your lips over the hole at one end and blow the contents of the egg out over the sink or in the yard. This will take a few minutes. If your yolk is a bit tough, once you've gotten most of the white of the egg out, take your straight pin and penetrate the skin of the yolk then finish blowing the rest of the yolk out. Once your egg is empty, using your straight pin again, make small holes all the way around the middle of the egg, lightly mark one spot so that you'll be able to fit the egg back together correctly, then take a thin blade and saw through so that you have two halves. Handling it carefully, rinse the inside of the egg and dry it. Now it is time to fill your egg with your wishes and energies for your goal. Three has always been a magickal number so you'll use two herbs and one stone charged with your wishes to fill your egg. Your Green Egg will use chopped bay leaves, cinnamon chips and a citrine stone; your Red or Pink Egg will use rose petals, damiana and a rose quartz stone; your Purple Egg will use poppy seeds, white sandalwood and an amethyst stone; your Yellow Egg will use lavender, allspice and a clear quartz stone; your Blue Egg will use chamomile, hops and a blue topaz stone and your Orange Egg will use bloodroot, patchouli and a gold tiger's eye stone. Fill one half of the egg at a time, concentrating on your goal and infusing the herbs and stone with your power. Light a candle in the same color as your egg and begin to drip small bits of melted wax on the seam of the cut eggshell to fuse it back together. As you do this, continue to visualize your wishes and, if you like, repeat a short chant or power words as you go. If your wax drippings on the eggshell are lumpy, after you have fused the egg completely, hold the waxed area just above your candle flame to warm it and then smooth it with your finger. Keep your Magick Egg in a safe place and when you have achieved manifestation of your goal, bury it in your yard.