Sunday, March 8, 2015

Spring Equinox/Ostara/Eostre

A Lesser Sabbat and a Sun Quarter Day
Northern Hemisphere March 21st
Southern Hemisphere September 21st
Seasonal Relevancy
Spring has arrived and there’s an equal balance of light and dark. The flowers are all blooming again, the birds are nesting and getting ready for their young and all around, new life is bursting forth in a new generation of animals and plants.  
Mythological Relevancy
This Sabbat is named after the Saxon Goddess Ostara and this festival specifically marks an equal balance between male and female energies which coincides perfectly with the fact that the days and nights are of equal length. Thus there is spiritual balance in all things. The young Oak King, who’s grown to a young man, now courts the maiden Goddess.  
Popular Traditions
Eggs are symbolic of new life and Wiccans use painted eggs to celebrate the wonderful eruption of new life all around them. Throw hard boiled, painted eggs high into the sky and as you do make a wish for the summer months ahead. The higher the egg goes, the more likely your wish will come true. Bury the fallen eggs to cement your wish. Bake and eat Hot Cross Buns marked with an equilateral cross to symbolise all things equal. 
A Contemporary Spring Equinox- Ostara Ritual
Hold the ritual in a park or open garden area. Decorate the altar with bright yellow daffodils and other spring flowers. Mark the perimeter of the circle with spring flowers.
On the altar have:
Yellow card cut into the shape of big sunflowers with petal sections that can eventually fold up so that the flower shape becomes a bowl (1 sunflower for each person present).
A pen for each person to use.
A pot of parrot or bird seed.
Cast the circle as normal if there are no visitors present, otherwise, omit the circle casting.
The ritual leader says to the group; “The Spring Equinox is a both a time of balance and a time of renewal. It is a time of balance because this event marks one of two points in the year when the days are the same length as the nights. Thus there is balance in light and darkness”.
“It is also a time of renewal and rebirth as Spring provides the warmth and light for new plants to grow, for young animals to grow healthy and fit, and for life to blossom around us. So as the caretakers of our precious planet and as the architects of our own life balance and renewal, we can use this time to refocus on those things that are important to us.”
Give each person a sunflower card and a pen saying; “Each of you now have before you a symbolic sunflower, one of the flowers that erupts at this time of year and grows toward full bloom in the Summer. Take a few moments now to consider what parts of your life are out of balance. Are you spending too much time and too much effort on one part of your life at the expense of other, equally or more important parts? Are you spending too much time on things and not on people? Do you use one set of behaviours instead of spreading your wings and trying better ways to cope? Are you ignoring parts of your life, parts of who you are when you should be balancing your life and being a whole person?”
“When you are ready, take your pen and write in the centre of your sunflower one way you will rebalance your life. Write down one behaviour or one aspect of your life you will change to bring your life back into balance”.
“Now take your sunflower and bend the petals up so that you form a bowl with your committed behaviour change written inside”.
When all participants have done this, have someone take the pot of bird seed and pour some seed into each of the sunflower bowls. The ritual leader then says; “Your commitments to rebalance your lives are now nestled beneath seed, which is the icon of new life, of rebirth and of renewal. Please take your sunflower bowls home. Each bowl signifies both life balance and rebirth. At home, place your bowl out in the garden to feed the local birds and to give to the Earth your commitment to rebalance your life.”
Consecrate and then have the cakes and ale, then close the circle. Follow up with a feast.