Dear ones, this Friday the Wheel of the Year turns again with Ostara, Spring Equinox. Spring Equinox is the midpoint between Imbolc and Beltane, it's the second of the three Spring Festivals and is a balance point where we once again we have equal light and dark like we did at Autumn Equinox. This time of year is known as Ostara, Alban Eilir, Esotre and of course Easter which happens in a few weeks. From this point onwards we will see an increase in light and warmth, the days grow longer and flowers begin to spring up all around us.
Ostara is usually a time for celebration, a time to welcome the chance to get outdoors, start socializing again after the winter months and begin to plan our activities for the Spring & Summer months. We book holidays, decide which music festivals to go to and start to think about taking our summer clothes out of storage. However, we are writing this blog during a worldwide Pandemic of COVID-19 and are, across the globe, being asked to stay at home and social distance. So, Spring Equinox this year feels a little different but there's one thing we've come to learn and that's connecting to nature, whether we can be outside interacting with it or not, is incredibly beneficial. One lesson we can really connect with at Equinox this year is the opportunity to pause, slow down and reflect. So often in life we are too busy to really look within and reflect on our life, who we are and where we're headed. We now have an unknown amount of time ahead of us to slow down and look at our lives on a personal and collective level and feel like when it's time to be back out in the world again, we will all have had an upgrade. Spring is all about new beginnings, fresh perspectives and community. These things are so relevant right now as we are working out new ways to live, new ways to stay connected and new ways to do our work.
A key word associated with this time of year is RENEWAL, we can think about the fact that whilst so many countries are on lockdown and so much travel is being suspended that our precious mother earth is getting a chance to heal. At the moment we are being asked to social distance to give the medical system the best chance to cope, it feels like mother earth has done the same thing for herself - given herself a chance to heal and renew for a little while so that she too has the best chance of recovering from the virus of pollution and mass consumption. This time out will hopefully help us all reevaluate our priorities and the impact we are all having on the planet. We could emerge from this with renewed compassion, understanding and gratitude.
Keywords associated with Spring Equinox: Balance, Blossoming, Renewal, Inspiration, Abundance, Expression, Change, Creativity, Fertility, Rebirth.
“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”
― Pablo Neruda
In this blog post we will be sharing some Ostara recipes, rituals, self care practices and Spring Goddesses who will help to guide you through this difficult time.
Celebrating Ostara in the home
A lovely part of celebrating the Wheel of the Year is that it opens up the possibilities of decorating the house at other times of the year, not just Christmas. A plain wreath base can be used over and over again for the changing seasons. People also have a tree that stays up all year round either indoors and outdoors that they decorate for each of the wheel of the year celebrations, fairy light trees can be particularly nice for this or bringing in large twigs, painting them and placing them in vases to hang decorations off. You can create an Ostara wreath using your recycled wreath base, or one that you've made from twigs that you've collected on your walks, and you can use real or artificial flowers to form your base as well as any embellishments that you represent Spring to you. Many wreaths contain eggs and images of hares but it's lovely to make it personal to you.
Spring bunting is also a lovely way to brighten up your indoor space and lift the spirits. Try making your own bunting out of old clothes or scrap bits of fabric, you could applique spring images with felt and embroidery thread. Spring is associated with the AIR element so a really important time to open the windows and get some fresh air in, this couldn't be more important at a time where we are stuck inside. Get into the habit of regularly cleansing your space using either essential oils via a diffuser or herbs such as sage. Bring nature indoors as much as possible with the resources you have at your disposal. White or pastel coloured candles can be a lovely addition to bring into the home at this time.
In the book The Inner Beauty Bible the author talks about the Navajo Indian concept called the Beauty Way which is a philosophy of constantly connecting to the beauty within and around you. This is the Beauty Way blessing prayer:
Shil hózhó - with me there is beauty
Shii' hózhó - in me there is beauty
Shaa hózhó - from me there is beauty
In your journal write these sentences down with enough space underneath to write.
With me there is beauty Sit and take a few deep breaths, feel grounded and present and then ask yourself, in this moment, right now, what is the beauty around you?
In me there is beauty Again, sit and breathe with your eyes closed and ask yourself what right now is the beauty within you? Can you feel your heart, can you connect with your recent kind actions, how well you're coping with things right now. Right down the things that you are proud of at the moment.
From me there is beauty Ask yourself what beauty you can share out into the world at this difficult time.
Spring is a time for fresh perspective and we are being asked to see things in a different way, our routines are being turned upside down and things change on a daily basis. Thinking about the air element of Spring, ask yourself how you are being asked to change at the moment? Are you resisting this change? How would it feel to lean into this change?
Equinox asks us to look at both the light and the dark. It invites us to look not just at what we want to welcome in and create, what light we want to shine but it also asks us to look at our shadows. During these uncertain times we are being forced to look at our shadows, our triggers, our fears and our old wounds. We might be in a hurry at the moment to push these down or move them to the side but this pause we experience at Equinox invites us to sit with our shadows. To be truly present with what makes us uncomfortable and to sit down and listen to this part of ourselves. Ask yourself, at the moment what are your fears?
Are these fears something you have carried with you for some time?
Where do these fears come from? Are they passed on to you from others? Are they from childhood or adulthood? Which of you wounds is seeking attention at the moment?
Place your hands on your heart, take some deep breaths and ask your heart "Dear heart, what do you need?" write down the answers to this question
What is blossoming in your life at the moment? Where do you feel your energy needs to be directed to at the moment in order to help the important things in your life grow? Where are you leaking energy right now?
Goddesses of Spring
At times when we are dealing with a lot of fear, anxiety and uncertainty, it's a beautiful practice to connect with the divine via the Goddess. Goddesses of Spring are usually sovereign Maiden Goddesses and again this is a really relevant theme as we may well be spending a lot of time on our own over the next few weeks/months. Now's the time to embody your maiden energy.
Here are some Goddesses of Spring that you can work with over the next few weeks. A fun project could be to choose a Goddess and research/read about her and then make either a vision board, a bujo spread, or a painting of her.
Eostre is the anglo saxon Goddess of Spring and she is where we get the word Easter from! She is associated with the moon, women's menses, spring time and the Hare. She is a Maiden Goddess of fertility, renewal and rebirth and is a wonderful Goddess to work with if you're wanting to birth new creations and projects or are struggling with change and transition.
Eos is the Greek Goddess of the Dawn. In her Roman aspect she is called Aurora and she is sister to Helios, the Sun god and Selene the Moon Goddess. She is often depicted with wings and rosey fingertips, she is the bringer of the light of a new day and dispenses the morning dew. She represents hope and rejuvenation, the dawning of a new day. Call on for strength and hope in times of uncertainty and fear and she will come to your aid with her beams of dawn light. She is associated with Saffron and Roses.
Queen of Elphame
The Queen of the Elphame is a Scottish shapeshifting Goddess and is Queen of the Fae. She is thought to be the maiden aspect of Nicnevin who is associated with the Autumn Equinox when she appears in her crone aspect. In her maiden aspect she is associated with Magic, healing and childbirth.
Freya is a Norse Maiden Goddess associated with love, beauty, prosperity and fertility. She is also associated with War and cares for half of those who fall in battle, the other are cared for by Odin. She has a magical feathered cloak with healing properties, a lovely visualisation at the moment would be to imagine Freya wrapping you in her feathered cloak and receive her care and love.
Blodewedd is a Welsh Spring Goddess who's name can be translated to mean either Flower Face or Owl. She represents the earth in full bloom and according to folklore she herself is made from the healing flowers of the Oak tree. She is a goddess of Spring, abundance and healing and is linked with Lunar mysteries as well as maiden initiations. She represents the untamed aspect of both nature and the wild feminine, as well as the transition between disempowered maiden to empowered queen - think Wild Woman Archetype. She is associated with Geranium and Meadowsweet.
Soothing Spring time Aromatherapy
Essential oils can bring such comfort during times of emotional distress and not only do floral scents help us to connect with the season of spring but they also bring us in to our heart space. The ability to drop from head to heart is so needed right now. Some beautiful oils to use at the moment are Geranium, Lavender, Rose, Bergamot, Palmarosa, Jasmine and Ylang Ylang. Here are a few blends that you might find helpful, you could either add these to your diffuser or add to a few drops of base oil or into a bath:
Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Rose & Jasmine
Mandarin, Bergamot & Jasmine
Geranium & Bergamot
Frankincense and Rose
Lavender, Chamomile and Mandarin
Cypress and Lavender
Spring is a time for creativity and with the prospect of having a lot of time stuck in doors it's a great time to try your hand at different crafts. Painting eggs at Ostara and Easter is a wonderful tradition and one that you can involve the whole family in. You can use either real eggs or make your own papier mache eggs. Here's a link for making your own papier mache: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/how-make-paper-mache
Painting in general is really great for awakening your creativity but is also a great way to create calm and soothe anxiety. Painting classes are popping up all over the place with it's link to mindfulness and helping to beat stress. There are loads of free watercolour tutorials on youtube so why not set aside some time to play with paint and again it's a wonderful activity to do with kids.
Creating a Spring Altar
Now more than ever, it's so important to have a space in your home dedicated to peace. Somewhere you can come to each day, to sit and be still and connect to images of beauty and inspiration that help you to stay connected to the divine. An altar can be a wonderful addition to this space and the fun thing with altars is you can change them as often as you like. You can have altars for each new moon, for each season or even for a particular Goddess or you can join all of these things together.
To create a Spring altar in your home, gather things that represent nature, hope, rejuvenation and abundance. Pastel colours are often used at this time of year but it's best to be guided by your intuition and connect more with what this time of year means to you. It's a lovely practice to bring home things that you have found whilst out on walks in nature, like stones, feathers, flowers (that have fallen naturally to the ground) twigs, anything that speaks to you.
For some inspiration, here's our Ostara pinterest board: