Celebrating Ostara: The Spring Equinox

Ostara - The Spring Equinox

Date: Typically between March 19-21

Day and night are equal length for a day or two before the balance tips in favor of spring’s growing light and warmth.

The Earth awakens. Migrating birds return to fill the morning with song. Animals pair up and prepare for the breeding season.

The first flowers begin to poke through the once frozen ground – sometimes even popping up among the early spring snow.

The Wheel turns and we arrive at Ostara: The Spring Equinox.

What Ostara Represents

Ostara is the holiday celebrated at the Spring Equinox.

Modern Druids call this holiday Alban Eilir.

It is a time to reflect on balance as the day and night are of equal length at this time.

Ostara is also associated with fertility, and much of the modern Easter symbolism (eggs, rabbits), are co-opted from earlier pagan myths that feature these symbols.

Keywords: Balance, fertility, birth.

Ostara Correspondences

Moon Phase: Ostara corresponds to the First Quarter Moon, a time of balance, overcoming obstacles, and perseverance.

It also represents fertility and possibility.

Colors: Light green (new growth), yellow (sun), blue, and pastel colors.

Crystals/Stones: Amethyst, rose quartz, green kyanite, amazonite, aquamarine, jasper, serpentine, clear quartz, moonstone.

Herbs: Lemongrass, mint, dandelion, ginger, catnip.

Incense/Essential Oils: Ginger, sage, strawberry, lemon and other citrus.

Other Magickal Earth Items: Seeds, potted plants and bulbs (especially daffodils, tulips, crocuses, and hyacinth), solar symbols, colored eggs, images of rabbits, bumblebees.

Ostara Rituals: How To Celebrate Ostara

Here are a few ways we celebrate Ostara:

Pagan Easter?

Growing up in a Christian household, Easter was celebrate this time of year – complete with colored eggs, egg hunts, and candy-filled Easter baskets.

These symbols (eggs, bunnies, and baskets full of abundance) are all pre-Christian symbols that are associated with rebirth, fertility, and the awakening of spring.

I often light-heartedly refer to Ostara as “pagan Easter”, as celebrating Ostara aligns more truly to the ancient meaning of this time of year – celebrating the return of the growing season.

Dyeing eggs, leaving offerings of carrots or other vegetable scraps to your neighborhood rabbits, and surprising both children and adults with a small basket full of treats (it doesn’t have be be candy!) are all ways to celebrate the season and incorporate familiar traditions that you might have grown up with.

Having a meal with family and friends that incorporate fresh leafy greens, eggs, and seed or sprouted grain bread are also ways to align with the awakening energy of the Ostara season.

Garden Planning & Seed Starting

Ostara is the time when I finally start seeds for my garden.

As an avid gardener, I go all out – setting up my grow lights, cleaning out my pop-up green houses, and planting trays of herbs, flowers, and vegetables.

Depending on where you live, you might have already started your seeds, or if you live further north of me, you may need to hold off another few weeks.

Either way, starting seeds indoors is a much-anticipated annual ritual that helps me cope with the last stretch of wintery weather, and with my own hands, help usher in spring and new life.

Spring-planted seedlings emerge from the soil.

Home Purification & Smoke Cleansing

As the temperatures warm and the sun shines brighter and longer, we get the urge to open up the windows and doors and let the fresh breezes of spring flow through.

One of my favorite ways to usher in a new season is through smoke cleansing.

After you have done this, open up the doors and windows allow the fresh, spring air to energetically invigorate your space.

Smoke cleansing to clear out stagnant winter energy.

Create An Ostara Altar

In addition to green, white, and yellow candles, our Ostara altar also includes dyed eggs, spring flowers such as potted hyacynth, tulips, and daffodils, and some of our favorite green crystals (epidote, serpentine, rainforest rhyolite, jade, green kyanite).

If it resonates with you, incorporate images of rabbits, ducks, songbirds, or other animals that represent spring to you.

Cultivate Balance

The Equinoxes are a time to reflect on balance. With spring, the balance tips toward light, fertility, and growth.

Take some time during Ostara to journal and reflect on where you need to cultivate more balance in your life to facilitate growth and fertile ideas.

Crocuses are one of the first spring flowers.

Phenology Of Ostara

Phenology is the study of cyclical patterns in the natural world around you, and plays a major role in my own nature-focused spiritual practice.

As I celebrate each holiday on the Wheel Of The Year, I take note of the changes in the environment around me, which helps connect me to the land I live in.

While Ostara marks the official beginning of spring, it can still feel and look like winter. Temperatures still drop below freezing. A major snowstorm is fairly routine this time of year. And I still must wait almost two more months (until mid-May) before I can safely plant anything in the ground due to frost danger.

However, the bitter cold of winter is behind us. The sun feels warmer. It rises earlier and sets later each day.

By the end of March, coltsfoot is blooming along the edge of the property. Daffodils, tulips, dandelions, and violets, as well as other spring ephemerals like bloodroot are not far behind.

The river ice has melted, opening up places for migrating ducks and geese rest, find food, and pair up for the spring.

Coltsfoot - Tussilago farfara.
Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)- The first wildflower of spring in my yard typically blooms during the last week of March, even while the weather is still cold or snowy.